Poets Aloud

Clint Smith

A poetry reading followed by a conversation with Damon Young, author of What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker

Presented with Center for African American Poetry and Poetics

“A gorgeous book …Smith’s pivots and pacing mirror the routes of our lives, and his gentle, attentive poems are downright sacramental.”


A remarkable poetry collection from Clint Smith, the #1 New York Times bestselling and National Book Critics Circle award-winning author of How the Word Is Passed.

Clint Smith’s compelling new collection traverses the vast emotional terrain of fatherhood, exploring how becoming a parent has recalibrated his sense of the world. Readers will find poems that interrogate the ways our lives are shaped by personal lineages and historical institutions; poems that revel in the wonder of rediscovering the world through the eyes of your children; and poems that meditate on what it means to raise a family in a world filled with constant social and political tumult. Above Ground wrestles with how we hold wonder and despair in the same hands, how we carry intimate moments of joy and a collective sense of mourning in the same body.

Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic. How the Word Is Passed was a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award Winner for Nonfiction. His poetry collection Counting Descent, won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. His essays, poems, and scholarly writing have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, the Harvard Educational Review, and elsewhere.

“I think there is an emergent theory, and maybe also a demand, when Clint Smith considers the brutalizing facts and language of war almost alongside a reverie about sprinkling sand on his baby’s feet; when he mourns the long and brutal and ongoing history of American slavery almost alongside making French toast with the kids or dancing until the whole family falls down. …It’s a theory, and a demand, to which I think we must pay very close attention.”



Above Ground is available for pre-order from White Whale Bookstore.


Wednesday, March 29, 2023 at 6 p.m.


Free, with registration
Links to the livestream will be emailed to all registered for this event on March 29th. The captioned video will remain available to view for one week.
Registration may also be completed by email at info@pittsburghlectures.org or by phone at 412.622.8866.


Carnegie Library Lecture Hall
4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15213


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Heather Cox Richardson

OCT 28