Past Issue: Danez Smith


Fall 2017 | Danez Smith | Vol. 1, Iss. 2

Welcome to The Fight & The Fiddle, a publication of the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University. Each issue gives you a 360-degree view of a Black poet, including an interview, new poems, a critical essay, and a writing prompt inspired by our featured poet. 


This quarter, we’re proud to feature poet and National Book Award Finalist Danez Smith. Smith is the author of the Lambda Award-winning [insert] Boy (YesYes Books, 2014), the chapbook Black Movie (Button Poetry, 2015), and the newly released collection Don’t Call Us Dead (Greywolf Press, 2017). Unapologetically political, unabashedly personal, and indisputably prescient, Smith’s poems go straight to the heart of what makes us human: our longing, our fears and most powerfully our potential for love and connection.

  • The Interview: Danez Smith talks with The Fight & The Fiddle editor Lauren K. Alleyne about the impact poetry has on living in an imperfect world, finding your place in such a world, and finding your place in writing.
  • Critical ReviewIn her appraisal of the poet’s new book, Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017), Dr. Tara Betts pronounces the collection “goddamn victorious.”
  • Poems: Read “fat one, with the switch,” “niggas,” and “For the Dead Homie” by Danez Smith.
  • Writing Prompts: Our featured poet imagines a heaven for Black boys gone too soon in the poem “summer somewhere.” Use this prompt to craft a heaven of your own.

Cover design by Robert Mott & Associates. Photos by JMU’s University Marketing Department.