April 12, 2023

Late Night Clint Smith

You don't see many poets on late-night talk shows. You don't see many writers of fiction or non-fiction either. But poets are the rarest writers for that particular medium. So, I am always pleased to see and hear a poet on a show that gives the poet and poetry a wider audience.

I saw Clint Smith on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and I will admit that I did not know Clint or his writing at all. It is particularly good to discover a new poet this way. I found a variety of his poems online and picked up his latest poetry collection for this week's reading.

Clint Smith is the author of the narrative nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, which was a #1 New York Times bestseller, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism, the Stowe Prize and selected by the New York Times as one of the 10 best books of 2021. He is also the author of the poetry collection Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He is a staff writer at The Atlantic.

In this video, he talks about what poetry can mean to people and how a teacher's encouraging words to a student can stay with them for a long time. He reads the first poems in his new collection, "All at Once." The poem alternates good and bad things happening all at once around the world - "The river that gives us water to drink is the same one that might wash us away." His latest collection of poems is Above Ground.

His website is clintsmithiii.com

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