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Danez Smith David Hong

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Donte Collins and Danez Smith

Sept. 5
7 p.m.
Free; $10-$26 VIP.
LGBTQ, Literary, Poetry, Spoken Word

Everyone confronts their mortality at some point, but few do so as poetically as Danez Smith. In the new book Don’t Call Us Dead, the black queer poet from St. Paul unravels his thoughts and feelings on the page after being diagnosed HIV-positive. “look, i’m not going to manufacture/any more sadness. it happened./it’s happening,” he writes in “every day is a funeral & a miracle.” The virus isn’t the only enemy, however; being black can be just as life-threatening in this country. Smith critiques American culture without preaching; in “dinosaurs in the hood,” the poet imagines a “Jurassic Park meets Friday meets The Pursuit of Happyness” action movie where “no one kills the black boy.” Indignation is juxtaposed with tender love poems like “bare”: “if love is a room/of broken glass, leave me to dance/until my feet are memory.” He’ll be reading pieces along with his mentee, Donte Collins, who will share poems from his new book, Softer. Tickets and more info can be found here.