December 2006

Patricia Smith


Tony Barnstone
  "A Manifesto on the Contemporary Sonnet: A Personal Aesthetics"
Tony Barnstone considers the sonnet from its formal beginnings to its evolution into the twenty-first century, including some generative techniques for sonnets of your own

Tony Barnstone

Willis Barnstone
Lorna Knowles Blake
Kim Bridgford
Billy Collins
Leisha Douglas
Barry Ergang
Ross A. Gay
Soheila Ghaussy This marks an author's first online publication
Miranda Girard This marks an author's first online publication
Myrna Goodman This marks an author's first online publication
Susan Gubernat
Heidi Hart
Jay Leeming This marks an author's first online publication
Anne Marie Macari

Patricia O'Hara
John Poch
Michael Salcman
Patricia Smith
A.E. Stallings

Gerald Stern
Joyce Sutphen
Jeet Thayil
Meredith Trede This marks an author's first online publication


Patricia Smith is the author of Teahouse of the Almighty (Coffee House Press), a winner of the 2005 National Poetry Series, as well as the books Close to Death (Zoland Books, 1993), Life According to Motown (Tia Chucha, 1991), and Big Towns, Big Talk (Zoland Books, 1992). She has also penned the award-winning children's book Janna and the Kings (Lee & Low Books, 2003) and Africans in America (Harcourt Brace, 1999), the companion book to the groundbreaking PBS documentary. Patricia is a four time champion of the National Poetry Slam—the most successful poet in the competition's history—a Cave Canem faculty member and a former McEver Chair in Writing at Georgia Tech University.

Baby Born Holding Heart In Hand    

        Raipur, India, Nov. 2005

Imagine holding it there, thrumming, taunt,
unbridled crave in an unfinished fist,
not caring it's the reason she exists
at least for this moment. But watch it haunt
the gone dreams of all who see it throbbing,
soft pulsing, blood metronome, raw engine
drumming her death into maybe, robbing
us of what we need to believe. Again.

One doctor feels God's presence, one does not
(chilled, he eyes the trash). A nurse wants to snatch
the beating thing, hold it to her chest, and match
heartbeats. She thinks Maybe I ought
to pray. The child, with life to overcome,
dimmed by their indecision, shields the drum.



Patricia Smith: Poetry
Copyright ©2006 The Cortland Review December 2006 FeatureThe Cortland Review