Homie: Poems is Danez Smith’s magnificent anthem about the saving grace of friendship. Rooted in the loss of one of Smith’s close friends, this book comes out of the search for joy and intimacy within a nation where both can seem scarce and getting scarcer. In poems of rare power and generosity, Smith acknowledges that in a country overrun by violence, xenophobia, and disparity, and in a body defined by race, queerness, and diagnosis, it can be hard to survive, even harder to remember reasons for living. But then the phone lights up, or a shout comes up to the window, and family – blood and chosen – arrives with just the right food and some redemption. Part friendship diary, part bright elegy, part war cry, Homie: Poems is the exuberant new book written for Smith and for Smith’s friends, and for you and for yours.
Definition of finna, created by author Nate Marshall: fin·na /ˈfinə/ contraction: (1) going to; intending to [rooted in African American Vernacular English] (2) eye dialect spelling of “fixing to” (3) Black possibility; Black futurity; Blackness as tomorrow. Marshall’s poems consider the brevity and disposability of Black lives and other oppressed people in our current era of emboldened white supremacy, and the use of the Black vernacular in America’s vast reserve of racial and gendered epithets. Finna: Poems explores the erasure of peoples in the American narrative; asks how gendered language can provoke violence; and finally, how the Black vernacular expands our notions of possibility, giving us a new language of hope.
Moderated by Dr. William Hobbs, English department chair at Florida Memorial University.