Alison Hedge Coke
Reynolds Endowed Chair, 308.865.8672

National Book Award finalist Patricia Smith will read from her work at the University of Nebraska at Kearney on Thursday, Oct. 20.

Smith, whose book “Blood Dazzler” was named one of NPR’s top five books of 2008, will speak at 7:30 p.m. in the Studio Theatre, located on the lower level of the UNK Fine Arts Building. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Her book, “Teahouse of the Almighty,” was a National Poetry Series selection. She is the recipient of the Pushcart Prize, Best Poetry Book of 2006 on, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Lee and Low Books New Voices Award and the Paterson Poetry Prize.

Her work has appeared in “Poetry,” “The Paris Review,” “Harvard Divinity Bulletin,” “Chautauqua Literary Journal” and     “TriQuarterly,” as well as in many anthologies including “Gathering Ground,” “The Spoken Word Revolution,” “The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry” and “Short Fuse: The Global Anthology of New Fusion Poetry.” Her poem is featured in “Pushcart Prize XXXII: Best of the Small Presses.”

Smith has read her work at venues around the world, including the Poets Stage in Stockholm, Rotterdam’s Poetry International Festival, the Aran Islands International Poetry and Prose Festival, and on tour in Germany, Austria and Holland. In the U.S., she has performed at Carnegie Hall, Bumbershoot, the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, the Folger Shakespeare Library and St. Mark’s Poetry Project. She has shared the stage with noted writers including Adrienne Rich, Sharon Olds, Rita Dove, Joyce Carol Oates, Allen Ginsberg, Walter Mosley, Gwendolyn Brooks, Billy Collins, Galway Kinnell and Viggo Morgensen.

She has worked with Boston stalwart Philip Pemberton, the blues band Bop Thunderous, and as an occasional vocalist with the improvisational jazz group, Bill Cole’s Untempered Ensemble. Smith is a four-time national individual champion of Poetry Slam. She was featured in the nationally-released film “Slamnation” and appeared on the award-winning HBO series “Def Poetry Jam.”

Recordings of Smith’s work can be found on the CD “Always in the Head,” as well as in compilations including “Grand Slam,” “A Snake in the Heart,” “By Someone’s Good Graces” and “Lip.” A short film of her performing the poem “Undertaker,” produced by Tied to the Tracks Films, won awards at the Sundance and San Francisco Film Festivals, and earned a prestigious Cable Ace Award as part of the Lifetime Network’s first annual Women’s Film Festival. In addition, she was the radio voice of the Oil of Olay Total Effects product line.

A selection of Smith’s poetry was produced as a one-woman play by Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott and performed at both Boston University Playwrights Theater and the Trinidad Theater Workshop. Another play, based on Life According to Motown, was staged by Company One Theater in Hartford, Conn.

Smith teaches at Cave Canem, City University of New York – College of Staten Island and for the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.

She is currently working on her next book, “Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah,” which is to be released in the spring of 2012.
Smith is speaking as a part of the fall 2011 Reynolds Series, which features writers from across the United States. Other presenters this fall will include: Miles Waggener, Thursday, Oct. 27; and Joy Harjo, Tuesday, Nov. 15.  Winners of the Reynolds Poetry and Creative Writing Scholarship will present their work on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

For more information, contact Allison Hedge Coke, Reynolds chair, at 308.865.8682 or