‘Homie’ Poems: A Collection by Danez Smith

Homie poems

There are several modern poets that constantly inspire me with their chapbook releases and spoken word videos: Clint Smith, Olivia Gatwood, Sarah Kay, José Olivarez, Eve Ewing, Hanif Abdurraqib, and Danez Smith. These are the young and inventive writers who teach me every time I read one of their pieces or watch their performances, so I’m always excited about any of their new releases. I purchased Danez Smith’s Homie collections as the third book of theirs on my bookshelf. I first bought their Never Call Us Dead, which I’m still aghast over and followed with Black Movie before pre-ordering Homie a couple months ago. Thankfully, Homie is just as beautiful and moving and devastating as I expected it would be. The chapbook has two titles with the actual label located inside the book (I won’t repeat what it is) for good reason. Homie is about love– the platonic type, familial type, and the romantic type, growing up as a Black Queer writer, existing in a world that wants them dead, and some of the experiences that shaped them along the way. One of Danez’s greatest assets is the way they mold images into their stories so the reader is able to walk through each experience as if it’s their own. My favorite poem in the collection is called “Say It With Your Whole Black Mouth” and it’s a deeply agitated piece illustrating parts of what it’s like to live as a Black person when everyone believes you guilty and dangerous and not worth living. The poem is dark and I can hear Danez reading it aloud themselves, which makes it that much more meaningful. I’m purposely not sharing any photos of the poems in Homie because I truly want everyone to buy a copy for themselves, so I hope that reading a short summary of what Danez wrote about makes you want to buy one!

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