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Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a groundbreaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Don?t Call Us Dead opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love, and longevity they deserved here on earth. Smith turns then to desire, mortality -- the dangers experienced in skin and body and blood -- and a diagnosis of HIV positive. "Some of us are killed / in pieces," Smith writes, "some of us all at once."
Don?t Call Us Dead is an astonishing and ambitious collection, one that confronts, praises, and rebukes America -- "Dear White America" -- where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.