Patricia Smith and Cave Canem Reading – December 7th

This was an incredible reading at the Pratt Library.  According to their web site “Cave Canem is committed to the discovery and cultivation of new voices in African American poetry.”  As the moderator, Reginald Harris, pointed out Cave Canem poets do not have a single style.  There was approximately 10 poets that each read for 5 minutes, unfortunately I do not have their names.  (There was no program for the reading.)  All I can say is that each was interesting and several were quite powerful.

The main event was Patricia Smith who is an established poet & slam champion.  This was her first reading where she exclusively read from her book “Blood Dazzler”.  This book is a collection of poems about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.  The reading like the poems was impressive.  Even reading her poems from behind a lecturn on a stage she was able to channel her poems.  In some poems the narrator is the Hurricane itself and in others it is the voices of its victims.  Her hurricane narration was quite chilling and her narration of the voices of the victims was convincing.

The only downside of this event to me was the turn out.  There was a decent number of people there, but given the number of people who were on stage the number should be higher.  I was impressed how few people in the local Spoken Word scene have heard of Patricia Smith.  I did not recognize one person at the reading.  I am not blaming anyone, but I wish that the poetry world was less fragmented. 

If you are interested in seeing Patricia Smith without journeying far away or going back in time look on the web.  She has a number of pieces on Youtube and also on Borders Open Book Poetry.


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2 Responses to “Patricia Smith and Cave Canem Reading – December 7th”

  1. Reginald Harris Says:


    Happy to have met you after the reading and glad you enjoyed the afternoon! We’ll have to work on getting the Spoken Word crowd over to the Library for our events.

    Take care


  2. dpoetry Says:


    Well thank-you for helping bring this event to Baltimore.



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