Winner of 2013 Wheatley Book Award in PoetryFinalist for 2013 William Carlos Williams AwardWinner of 2014 Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry"Patricia Smith is writing some of the best poetry in America today. Ms Smith’s new book, Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, is just beautiful—and like the America she embodies and represents—dangerously beautiful. Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah is a stunning and transcendent work of art, despite, and perhaps becau...
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Reviews Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah
- This is an amazing collection of poetry that in part chronicles the move of her family from South to North, from Alabama to Chicago. And we see her struggles and joys with growing up black, with sexuality, with soul music. Too many favorites to list here. But as with other works by Smith, this is visceral poetry, poetry of the body, unashamed and explicit and marveling. And compared to earlier poetry one might also describe this way, this collect...
- There's a lot to love in this book. I found myself scribbling exclamation points and stars all throughout its margins. A few pages have been dogeared for rereading. Mostly, it's many stories of Patricia's upbringing - her mother's journey from the south to Chicago, her first sexual experiences, blackness. The themes aren't necessarily new but the deftness with which they've been handled are masterful. Patricia Smith knows what she's doing, period...
- Patricia Smith's latest book of poetry is incredible! She has shared her family's migration from Alabama to the North. She shared her hope hopes and dreams and perspective from the 60's on in her own life. It will make you laugh, cry and be disturbed about our races relations during those days of the 60's. May we never forget how we destroy hopes and dreams through racism, sexism, and many other types of injustice.
- Not as ambitious as Blood Dazzler, but because it's Patricia Smith, the writing is of course top-notch. Her crown of sonnets for Motown, her serpentine sestina for Stevie Wonder, and her invented form poem about being 13 are particularly thrilling and memorable.
- I'm not always a patient poetry reader, but this searing collection by yet another VCFA PGW faculty, had me at the first entry: How Mammas Begin Sometimes. BTW: National Book Award Finalist.
- A fascinating book which could be considered an extended narrative history of the author's family, tracing her mother's roots in the Alabama delta through one of the great Southern migrations to the allure of Chicago and on, culminating in the author's adolescence.I was especially taken with the poem about her naming (and thus, the title of the book) and about watching the unfolding of the Vietnam War on television back when news had a purpose. I...
- Masterful word choice and hard-hitting images elevate this collection of poems above most others. Smith's el dente lines are substantial and filling. Reading her poetry aloud is like catching the flow of a sophisticated rap--you feel the words rather than contemplate their meaning. This is hard-hitting poetry that should NOT be overlooked!
- There was so much to experience and learn from this book. I frequently found myself doubling back to examine the forms Patricia Smith leverages. They often appeared unadorned and didn't announce themselves to me until 6-8 lines. "Have Soul and Die" contains my new life aspiration and is, itself, a justification for purchase. "To Keep From Saying Dead" is an amazing homage to Gwendolyn Brooks.Favorites: - Before Orphan Unearthed the Mirror- Otis a...
- I am in awe of this book; from the very first poem, which starts hard, echoes from Blood Dazzler, I felt a set tone, a very Patricia Smith tone that told me instead of warned me about what was to come.A memoir-narrative poetic sequence, the book invokes Smith's parents and their move to Chicago and includes accessible and beautiful discourses on female blackness, urbanity, and music. Almost every poem is a wonder.
- I'm a little late to the party, but this book is amazing. Patricia is a master of poetry and storytelling. She's true to her voice while also truthfully honoring that of the people in her poems. I know Patricia first as a performance poet, so it was a delight to be able to see her work on the page, but also I could hear her performing it in my mind.
- Smith is such an awesome storyteller and wizard with words. I write this after I read Mathis' 'Twelve Tribes of Hattie'. If you read Mathis, I strongly suggest you give Smith's collection a read. It's a similar and powerful conversation about black migration and life in north. I'm so glad that both exist in the world.
- This is the first full collection I've read by Patricia Smith. I love the grittiness of her voice, how her poems in this book all feel like summer- like you feel the oppression of humidity and city grime and exhaust. she speaks of a childhood in a way that makes it feel like she grew up a lifetime ago.
- I wish I had the vocabulary to discuss the brilliance of her formal choices, because describing this as a book that even people who don't like poetry will grok is often a way of saying that it isn't too complicated formally. But this is both sophisticated and approachable, and gripping.
- Smith continues to dazzle with this new collection that has the migration of African Americans from the south to the north at its uncompromising core. It's also a love letter to her native Chicago. A must-read.
- I liked some of the poems more than others. There is a lot African American pride and struggles packed into Patricia Smith's poetry.
- Loved it...I want to write like Patricia Smith!
- Why don't I read more poetry? This was so good!
- listened to patricia smith read the lysol poem at the green mile in chicago. holy sh!t jesus. rest of the book is fantastic, of course.
- powerful, deserves all the accolades it received. i did bog down a bit in the middle but the beginning and end were amazing
- Patricia's latest book brought back vivid memories of growing up Black in the Motown period. Amazingly vital, compassionate, and engaging poetry by one of my favorite contemporary poets.
- Patricia Smith's Chicago poems. Fierce and proud with memory and a language all her own.
- Best piece of poetry I have read by anyone ever.
- Brilliant. This one is the poetic companion to "The Warmth of Other Suns."
- As with all good poetry, I must purchase my own copy.