Poet and Performance Artist Patricia Smith

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Emily Dickinson might not recognize poetry in the 21st century if she tripped over it.

Poetry today is about performance and slamming. Poets have special lighting and directors! The nation’s foremost slam poet Patricia Smith is among a group of writers making so called poetic theater happen in hip, mostly New York venues like the Knitting Factory and the Nu-yorican Poets Cafe.

Poetic Theater is poetry mixed with monologues and live music; some thread about life, love, or politics ties it all together. Patricia Smith describes it as an attractive medium for people who can’t sit through a straight reading. She’s can’t stage though what she didn’t write, she says.

Maybe even live through. Her first major piece after being fired from The Boston Globe two summers ago was called Professional Suicide. Her new show about the origins of heartbreak is called Blues Through to Bone.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Patricia Smith