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In this episode we talk with Danez Smith about writing “the unsavory parts” of ourselves, balancing truth with tenderness, having a healthy fear of fucking up, finding one’s poetry family, and form as self-care. If Danez’s poems collected crystals their favorite would be rose quartz.


“Tenderness sometimes isn’t always about the way that truth is told but maybe it’s in the images or its in the sound, trying to offer some kind of play or delight.”


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Guest Bio


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Danez Smith is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead. Smith’s debut poetry collection, [insert] boy, won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award. Smith has received fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Poetry Foundation, and has published poems in Granta, Poetry, and The Best American Poetry. Smith lives in Minneapolis.


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Your hosts are Third Man authors Ciona Rouse & Kendra DeColo:




Ciona Rouse is a poet and author of Vantablack (Third Man Books, 2017). Rouse is poetry editor of the literary journal Wordpeace and cohost of the Re/Verb podcast from Third Man Books. Her work can be found in Native Magazine, Gabby Journal, Matter: a journal of political poetry and commentary and Talking River. In addition to curating many poetry experiences and workshops in Nashville, she also collaborates with various artists to create multi-disciplinary performances, including the show The Longest Night with saxophonist Jeff Coffin and composer Jason Shelton at Oz Arts,  the Blair House Collective with musician and poet Adia Victoria and poet Caroline Randall Williams and Nick Cave: Feat with the visual artist Nick Cave for the Frist Art Museum, which was a performance at the Schermmerhorn Symphony Center in 2018, which was recognized as the year's best poetry performance in the Nashville Scene


Kendra DeColo's most recent book of poems, My Dinner with Ron Jeremy, is availalbe from Third Man Books (August 2016). Her first book Thieves in the Afterlife(Saturnalia Books, 2014), was selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the 2013 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize and named “Favorite Nashville Poetry Book of 2014” by the Nashville Scene. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Ninth Letter, Indiana ReviewCopper NickelVerse Daily, Third Man Books' Language Lessons Vol. I, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Millay Colony, and the Tennessee Arts Commission. She is book editor at Muzzle Magazine and guest teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.


Enjoy previous episodes below.