Patricia Smith in 2012. Photo by Slowking. Licensed under Creative Commons, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Patricia Smith (born 1955) is an African-American poet, spoken word performer, playwright, author, writing teacher, and former journalist.


Smith was born in Chicago. She lives in Howell, Michigan . She is a four-time individual National Poetry Slam champion and appeared in the 1996 documentary SlamNation, which followed various poetry slam teams as they competed at the 1996 National Poetry Slam in Portland, OR.

She gained notoriety when The Boston Globe asked her to resign after editors discovered her metro column contained fictional characters and fabricated events in violation of journalism practice.

She has published poems in literary magazines and journals including TriQuarterly, Poetry, The Paris Review, Tin House and in anthologies including American Voices and The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry.[1][2] She is on the faculties of the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing and the Low-Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Sierra Nevada College.[3][4]

She is married to Bruce DeSilva, journalist and Edgar Award winning author.


Smith won the Distinguished Writing Award for Commentary from the American Society of Newspaper Editors, 1997. However, the Boston Globe returned the ASNE award and withdrew her from consideration for a Pulitzer Prize after the newspaper acknowledged that some of her columns contained fabricated people, events, and quotes. Smith admitted to four instances of fabrications in her columns.[1] She was asked to resign from the Globe after this revelation.

She is also a 2008 National Book Award finalist, and a winner of the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award in Poetry, the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, the National Poetry Series award, the Patterson poetry award and the Pushcart prize. In 2006, she was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent.



  • Life According to Motown. Chicago: Tia Chucha Press, 1991.
  • Big Towns, Big Talk. Hanover, NH: Zoland Books, 1992.
  • Close to Death. Cambrige, MA: Zoland Books, 1993.
  • Teahouse of the Almighty. Minneapolis, MN: Coffee House Press, 2006.
  • Almost. Green River, VT: Longhouse, 2007.
  • Blood Dazzler: Poems. Minneapolis, MN: Coffee House Press, 2008.
  • Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah. Minneapolis, MN: Coffee House Press, 2012.

Short fictionEdit

  • Staten Island Noir. New York: Akashic Books, 2012.


  • Africans in America: America's journey through slavery (with Charles Johnson). New York: Harcourt Brace, 1998.


  • Janna and the Kings (illustrated by Aaron Boyd). New York: Lee & Low Books, 2003.

Except where noted, bibliographical informtion courtesy WorldCat.[5]

See alsoEdit

Patricia Smith - Blood Dazzler

Patricia Smith - Blood Dazzler

References Edit

External linksEdit

Audio / video
Journalism Scandal
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