19 pages 38 minutes read

Danez Smith

It won’t be a bullet

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 2017

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dear white america by Danez Smith (2017)

This is one of Smith’s earliest poems, which won them recognition and helped them launch their career. The poem and Smith’s performance of it became widely circulated on YouTube. It shows the characteristic topics of Smith’s work, including the use of Afrofuturism to create a hypothetical “better” world, a world where African Americans can escape earth to live on another planet and therefore live without racism.

Dinosaurs in the Hood by Danez Smith (2014)

In this poem, Smith writes a summary of a movie in which an African American boy plays with a toy dinosaur. The poem critiques many of the typical tropes Hollywood uses when portraying Black characters. Specifically, the poem argues that the Black boy in this movie cannot die. This is a theme Smith returns to over and over in their work, advocating for a world in which Black people are allowed to live in safety.

Summer Somewhere by Danez Smith (2016)

“Summer Somewhere” responds to the fact that so many African American men have been brutally killed young. In this poem, the speaker draws a vision of an afterlife where those who have been murdered prematurely get to go on living in a “summer” that is not of this world.