Chatto & Windus has acquired Danez Smith’s second poetry collection, Don’t Call Us Dead.
The Minneapolis-based author wrote [insert] Boy (Yesyes Books, 2014), which went on to win the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.
According to Chatto, his new "ambitious" collection centres on the intersections of race, class, sexuality and social justice, opening with a sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police. It also includes "intimate poems of the body, of desire and mortality" in the face of a HIV positive diagnosis, as well as poetry that, say Chatto, "confronts, praises, and rebukes America with formidable force".
Parisa Ebrahimi, poetry editor at Chatto & Windus, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) from Katie Dublinski at Graywolf Press, who will publish the collection in the US this September. Chatto & Windus will publish Don’t Call Us Dead in the UK in February 2018.
Ebrahimi said: "Danez Smith is a fireball of a poet, and I’ve long admired the power and skill of Smith’s poems, both on the page and on stage. Fierce, fearless and unforgettable, this is poetry that hits hard at gut level. I have no doubt it will be an important book, with its message keenly felt both here and in Trump’s America. It’s with great pleasure and much excitement that we welcome this very talented poet to the Chatto list."
Smith commented: "I’m beside myself to have such an amazing home for my work in the UK, especially on a press that prints some of my favorite British poets. I hope that the opening of this door for me will mean the amplification of other voices of colour that readers so desperately need."