On February 8, poet and Ecotone contributor Patricia Smith, the 2018 University of North Carolina Wilmington Distinguished Visiting Writer, gifted a packed house in Kenan Hall with a luminous reading and moving performance. Smith read across her eight volumes of poetry, encouraging the audience to confront the ways in which they interact with life and its multiplicities: through joy, darkness, desire, and inspiration. She said, “Listen for the voice you’re not hearing.”
Her poems “Fixed on the Next Star,” “One Way to Run from It,” and “How Mamas Begin Sometimes” appear in Ecotone Issue 13.
With a background in playwriting, performance, and journalism, Smith is a professor at the College of Staten Island and in the MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College, and an instructor at the annual VONA residency and the Vermont College of Fine Arts Post-Graduate Residency Program. A past Guggenheim fellow, she is a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, making her the most successful poet in the competition’s history.
Photos by Nicholl Paratore