Goddess of Poetry: Patricia Smith

On March 31st Bruce DeSilva, the writing coach at The Associated Press in New York City, posted one of my book trailers on his Facebook profile. He prefaced it with: Check out the trailer for the new book by Facebook goddess Pat Bertram.

I shot back a thank you, with a wry: goddess? I thought the rest of our email conversation noteworthy, and I wanted to share it with you.

Bruce: “The Goddess” is what I call my wife, the poet Patricia Smith. I do NOT throw the term around loosely.

Pat: I am honored. Actually, I was honored even before your explanation, and now even more so.

Bruce: If you want to see Patricia in action — she’s truly incredible — go to this URL and look at the great video. It’s the Borders “poetry open door” site. Believe me, you’ll be very glad you did. http://www.bordersmedia.com/odp/smith.asp

Pat: You’re right, Patricia is incredible. I always thought of poetry as quiet, visual. But hearing and seeing it spoken turns it into something different — something alive, dynamic. I never realized that before.

Bruce: Poetry was originally meant to be spoken out loud. Academics took it over and turned it into something dusty and stuffy. But poets like Patricia are taking it back to its roots and, in the process, getting it a wider audience. Yet Patricia’s work not only works on the stage but on the page. She works not only in free verse but in form, producing great sonnets, sestinas, crowns, etc. She’s a four-time National Poetry Slam champion, but she’s also National Poetry Series winner and a National Book Award finalist. Yes, I’m very proud of her.

Pat: You’re proud of her? I couldn’t tell.

Bruce: There’s another series of videos scheduled to be put up on the site soon, and I’m thrilled that the filmaker, Anthony Tedesco, who had me man a second camera, gave me a camera credit on it.

So, as Bruce said, check out the video of Patricia Smith reading her poetry. You will be glad you did. Border’s Open-Door Poetry site.

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