Patricia Smith’s fifth book of poetry, Blood Dazzler chronicles the human, physical and emotional toll exacted by Hurricane Katrina, a catastrophic natural event with lasting spiritual and political impact. This much-anticipated volume is also the focal point of a new dance/theater collaboration between Patricia and Urban Bush Women choreographer Paloma McGregor.
Out of the maelstrom of the Slam, Patricia Smith conjures a harsh and elegant poetry in Blood Dazzler. Readers suspicious of her performance pedigree will note the formal ingenuity, whether sonnet, tanka, or collage. At the same time, the audience who prefers the live mic will be seized by the power of her voices, including that of Katrina “in full tantrum.” From a confluence of poetic sensibilities, in a hot political wind, Smith rises above mere topicality to address timeless concerns.