Blood Dazzler

By Patricia Smith

In minute-by-minute aspect, Patricia Smith tracks storm Katrina because it transforms right into a full-blown mistress of destruction. From August 23, 2005, the day Tropical melancholy Twelve constructed, via August 28 while it turned a class 5 hurricane with its “scarlet glare fastened at the trembling crescent,” to the heartbreaking aftermath, those poems evoke the horror that opened up in New Orleans as the United States watched it on television.

Assuming the voices of flailing politicians, the death, their survivors, and the voice of the typhoon itself, Smith follows the woefully insufficient aid attempt and stands witness to households held captive on rooftops and within the Superdome. She offers voice to the thirty-four nursing domestic citizens who drowned in St. Bernard Parish and recollects the day after their deaths whilst George W. Bush followed nation singer Mark Willis on guitar:

The cowboy grins in the course of the negative din,
And within the 9th, a choking girl wails
Look like this state performed left us for dead.

An unforgettable reminder that poetry can nonetheless be “news that remains news,” Blood Dazzler is an important step towards nationwide healing.

Patricia Smith is the writer of 4 prior collections of poetry, together with Teahouse of the Almighty, winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the Paterson Poetry Prize. A record-setting, nationwide poetry slam champion, she was once featured within the movie Slamnation, at the HBO sequence Def Poetry Jam, and is a common contributor to Harriet, the Poetry Foundation’s web publication. stopover at her site at

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