Creative Writing

UNCW Welcomes Visiting Professor of Poetry Patricia Smith

The UNCW Department of Creative Writing welcomes Patricia Smith as Visiting Professor of Poetry for the spring semester of 2018. Smith is the author of eight volumes of poetry, including Teahouse of the Almighty, Close to Death, Big Towns Big Talk, and Life According to Motown, as well as the children's book Janna and the Kings and the history Africans in America, a companion book to the award-winning PBS series. She is a professor at the College of Staten Island and in the MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College, and she teaches at the annual VONA residency and in the Vermont College of Fine Arts Post-Graduate Residency Program. Smith will teach a month-long graduate workshop in poetry this semester.

“Our graduate students clearly feel blessed by the opportunity to work with such an accomplished poet, such a gifted teacher,” says MFA coordinator and poetry faculty Melissa Crowe. “Patricia’s poems are the kind I love most—intimate, vivid, musical, weighty. It’s a thrill to have her here.”

With a background in playwriting, performance, and journalism, Smith is a Guggenheim fellow, a Civitellian, a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient, a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize, a former fellow at both Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. She’s also a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, which makes her the most successful poet in the competition’s history.

Her work has appeared in Poetry, theParis Review, theBaffler, theWashington Post, theNew York Times, Tin House, and in theBest American Poetry and the Best American Essays series.  She co-edited The Golden Shovel AnthologyNew Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks, and she’s the editor of the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir.

Smith will read at 7 p.m., Thursday, February 8th, in Kenan Hall room 1111. A reception sponsored by the department and book signing sponsored by Pomegranate Books will follow the reading. All events are free and open to the public.