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Patricia Smith’s poetry is always socially conscious, sometimes shouting in the face of injustice, but her collection Teahouse of the Almighty is a conscious objector of. She uses unflinching poems about unlikely subjects and in the voice of unlikely narrators in order to expose injustices she has encountered. In this collection, Smith touches on many unconventional subjects such as: a heart transplant, a false newspaper story regarding a cure for AIDS, a washed up lounge singer, a son recently out of prison.

The first poem of the collection, “Building Nicole’s Mama” grounds the reader immediately. It prepares us for the rest of the collection by placing an awareness on both the craft of making poetry but also the contemporary societal issues this speaker will address throughout the collection. Most of this poem is written through the voice of the children, adding a layer of sad innocence, “and can you teach me to write a poem about my mother? / I mean, you write about your daddy and he dead. / Can you teach me to remember my mama?” (54-56). These children never imagined that their lives could become poetry, but they are surprised either, they are still innocent enough think that most things are possible for them.

In “The World Won’t Wait” she illustrates the naivety of a man, twenty-seven years old and just out of prison. As the speaker watches this man is amazement of an electronic toothbrush she realizes how difficult life in society will be for him. “…his punishment was never there, / among the scabbed tattoos, sluggish clocks, open toilets. / His sentence began in the free, in that moment / when he turned a cheap chugging red toothbrush /over and over in his huge hands and said, / Look at this, Ma. Wow, look at this.” (25-30).

In this collection Smith draws on her experiences, her sense of injustice, and her empathy. She presents issues in a straight forward voice in order to expose the issues and trigger the reader’s emotional responses. By using song lyrics, jazz cadence, and cultural references to ground this collection in the material world she provides the platform for these poems, their author, and their reader to view the world for what it is and change it for the better.


Smith, Patricia. Teahouse of the Almighty. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2006.
 
 
sound: motley crue. shout at the devil.
 
 
14 January 2009 @ 01:40 am
At twenty-five years old I am part of the generation who didn't grow up on computers, text messages, or cell phones that can make breakfast for your family, but am young enough to have gotten swept up in the laptop and the ipod craze. I had Friendster and Myspace accounts in college, even a livejournal account back-in-the day, but I never trusted my writing out there in the vast Internet universe. But today that changes...today I will rekindle my affair of livejournal. Now, ask anyone who has known me through out my life, I was notorious for two week relationships. I am not promising that thiswill be any different than my high school boyfriends.,but I do promise to be as infatuated with it as I was with them, for the first two weeks.
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sound: wax. southern california.
 
 
09 January 2009 @ 09:51 am
old layout....short skirts and whiskey shots...
 
 
19 April 2007 @ 02:26 am
yesterday while i was making dinner a wine glass fell off of the microwave that is on top op the refrigerator and shattered on my head. my hand bled for about twenty minutes but i just stuck it under cold water and finished making dinner with my other hand.

i think i cleaned it all up, but don't walk in mike's kitchen barefoot. i stepped on a shard this morning, and i am fairly certain there are more pieces hiding just waiting to force themselves into unsuspecting feet.
 
 
11 April 2007 @ 01:15 pm
i am a still a fan of the mini skirt.



maybe it's because i'm short.
 
 
 
07 February 2007 @ 06:53 am
and yey insomnia. i think in my sickness i developed a little crutch called tylenol pm. on the upiside, i haven't seen a sunrise in awhile.
 
 
04 February 2007 @ 09:52 pm
jones. sugar free black cherry soda. the best stuff i have ever tasted in my life. i would have it's babies.
 
 
31 January 2007 @ 12:56 pm
so Wilkes is all about this blogging thing. i'm not so sure i am. i'm not so pysched having my info and poems and writing floating around the internet. i'm the kind of girl who likes to keep this to a bare minimum or kind of cryptic or use it to take those 'which boy meets world character are you?' or 'who is your hair metal band soul mate'.
 
 
17 January 2007 @ 06:29 pm
I don’t want to live my life without my friends. You know those ones that you’ve had forever and that you moved away from each other when you went to college then you started your lives in those far away places. I always said that it was okay that we were far away, we still saw each other on holidays. But whenever I leave them I remember how great our friendships are, how in love with them I am, that my life isn’t complete with out them near me. A phone call or instant message can't replace sitting at Denny’s or in a bar and yelling a squealing and laughing. It can’t replace a hug. And I know that I’ll meet other friends but not in the same way, I’ll never have friendships like that again.
 
 
sound: california
 
 
28 October 2006 @ 02:19 am
i really feel too old for this shit. i live in a really expensive shitty apartment. with no storage, no room to put things, no space to do anything, and shelves fall out of the walls. i still love new york city but i can't live like this anymore. it really gets to me. i am so over this shit. ...if i only knew where i wanted to move to. (and sorry sharon. i'm pretty sure i'd hate philly too).
 
 
sound: hairspray soundtrack