Patricia Smith

Beowulf Sheehan

Patricia Smith

Past Event: Tuesday, February 15, 2011

At Benaroya Hall — Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall

Poetry Icon

Poetry

Patricia Smith was born and raised in Chicago. A veteran of the slam poetry movement of that city in the 1980s, she worked to transplant slam poetry in New England and is credited for making it a national phenomenon in the United States.

Her first book, Big Towns, Big Talk (1992) won her the Carl Sandburg Literary Award. She also won the 2006 National Poetry Series with Teahouse of the Almighty. Smith’s work has been published in such journals as PoetryThe Paris Review and TriQuarterly. She has performed around the world, at Carnegie Hall, the Sorbonne in Paris, and the Poet’s Stage in Stockholm. Smith has been included in many anthologies of poetry, including American Voices(2005), The Spoken Word Revolution (2003), and Bum Rush the Page (2003). She has written a history book, Africans in America (1998), and a children’s book, Janna and the Kings (2003).

Patricia Smith has been called “one of the best poets around,” by fellow poet Terrance Hayes. “Her [poetry] is full of capacious soul and formal inventiveness: the compassion and artfulness necessary to capture tragedies,” Hayes says, “Smith is herself a storm of beautiful, frightening talent. Her words will wash you or wash you away.” Of her own work, Smith says “I’ve come to think of myself primarily as a storyteller, not a performer. If anything, I work at composing those stories in the best possible way, in a way that connects human-to-human—the ‘performance’ comes to life only after.” She is the winner of the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award in Poetry, the Patterson Poetry Award and the Pushcart Prize. In 2006, she was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent. Patricia Smith is a four-time national individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, has been a featured poet on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, and has performed three one-woman plays, including one produced by Nobel Prize-winner Derek Walcott. She is a Cave Canem faculty member and has served as the Bruce McEver Chair in Writing at Georgia Tech University.

Smith’s most recent book, Blood Dazzler (2008), chronicled the toll exacted by Hurricane Katrina and was nominated for a National Book Award. She is currently at work on Shoulda Been Jimmie Savannah, a memoir written in formal verse, and the young adult novel The Journal of Willie J. Smith teaches in the Stonecoast M.F.A. program at the University of Southern Maine and is a professor of creative writing at the City University of New York. She lives in New York.

Selected Work

Poetry
Blood Dazzler (2008)
Teahouse of the Almighty (2006)
Close to Death (1993)
Big Towns, Big Talk (1992)
Life According to Motown (1991)

Prose
Janna and the Kings (illustrated by Aaron Boyd, 2003)
Africans in America (with Charles Johnson, 1998)

Links
Patricia Smith reads”Building Nicole’s Mama”
Biography (Poets.org)
Patricia Smith’s homepage
Patricia Smith Reading at 2008 Dodge Poetry Festival

Event Details

Benaroya Hall — Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall

200 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Transportation & Parking

This event will be held in the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. The Recital Hall is located on the upper level of Benaroya Hall, up the stairs to the left side of the Box Office. Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University Street, directly across Second Avenue from the Seattle Art Museum. The public entrance to Benaroya Hall is along Third Avenue.


By Car

  • From Southbound I-5
    Take the Union Street exit (#165B). Continue onto Union Street and proceed approximately five blocks to Second Avenue. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5
    Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Seneca Street exit and move into the left lane. Turn left onto First Avenue and proceed one block. Take the next right (at the Hammering Man sculpture) onto University Street. Continue up the hill two blocks to Third Avenue. Turn left onto Third Avenue. Continue to the next block and turn left onto Union Street. Make the next left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Southbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Denny Way/Downtown exit. Keep right and cross over Denny Way onto Wall Street. Proceed approximately five blocks and turn left onto Second Avenue. Continue south on Second Avenue approximately eight blocks. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.

By Public Transit (Bus & Light Rail)

Benaroya Hall is served by numerous bus routes. Digital reader boards along Third Avenue display real-time bus arrival information. For details and trip planning tools, call Metro Rider Information at 206.553.3000 (voice) or 206.684.1739 (TDD), or visit Metro online. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, served by light rail, has a stop just below the Hall (University Street Station).

Parking
The 430-car underground garage at Benaroya Hall provides direct access from the enclosed parking area into the Hall via elevators leading to The Boeing Company Gallery. Enter the garage on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street. Maximum vehicle height is 6’8″. Blink charging stations are available for electric vehicles. The event rate is $16.

Parking is also available at:

  • The Cobb Building (enter on University Street between Third and Fourth Avenues).
  • The Russell Investments Center (enter on Union Street between First and Second Avenues).
  • There are many other garages within a one-block radius of Benaroya Hall, along with numerous on-street parking options.

Accessibility

Open Captioning is an option for people who have hearing loss, where a captioning screen displaying the words that are spoken or sung is placed on stage. This option is present at every event at Benaroya Hall in our 2021/22 Season.

Closed Captioning is an option for people who have hearing loss, where captioning displays the words that are spoken or sung at the bottom of the video during an online event. Captioning is available for all online events; click the “CC” button to view captions during the event.

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are devices that people with hearing loss use in conjunction with their hearing device (hearing aids or cochlear implants). Benaroya Hall has an infrared hearing system, which transmits sound by light beams. Headsets are available in The Boeing Company Gallery coat check and the Head Usher stations in both lobbies.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals for both in-person and online events. To make a request for interpretation, please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Sign Language Interpretation” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process and we will contact you to confirm details. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation.

Wheelchair Accessible Seating and Accessible Restrooms are available in all sections at our venues, and our venues are fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. Among other features, Benaroya Hall has designated parking spaces adjacent to elevators in their parking garage. Elevators with Braille signage go to all levels within the Hall. To reserve seating for a specific mobility concern, you may select “Wheelchair Accessible or Alternative Seating Options” during ticket checkout, and we will contact you to confirm details. For more details on their accessibility features, click here.

Guide and service dogs are welcome.

Gender neutral restrooms are available.

We are pleased to offer these accessibility services at our venues, and they are provided at no additional cost to ticket holders. Please contact us with any questions and feedback about how we can be more accessible and inclusive. Our Patron Services Manager is available at boxoffice@lectures.org, or Monday-Friday from 10:00am – 5:00pm at 206.621.2230×10.

For more accessibility information, please head to lectures.org/accessibility. If you would like to make accessibility arrangements you do not see listed here, please contact our box office or select “Other Accommodations” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process, and we will contact you to confirm details.