Pick-a-Poem: Danez Smith


Welcome, blog readers, to another installment of our Pick-a-Poem series. If you’ve been around for a while, you know that we feature a new poem every Wednesday for you to read. Hopefully, through these posts, you’ll discover a new poet whose work you want to read and explore. These featured poems come from Poetry Daily, a website that features a  new poem every day. Be sure to check them out! This week’s featured poem is I’m Going Back to Minnesota Where Sadness Makes Sense by Danez Smith.

According to his bio page, Danez Smith‘s most recent book is [insert] boy, which was published by YesYes Books in 2014. This was chosen as one of the Boston Globe’s Best Poetry Books of 2014. His work has also appeared in publications such as Ploughshares, Narrative, and Poetry. In 2014, he won a Ruth Lilly/Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and was featured in the Academy of American Poets’ Emerging Poets Series by Patricia Smith.

I’m Going Back to Minnesota Where Sadness Makes Sense by Danez Smith

O California, don’t you know the sun is only a god
if you learn to starve for him? I’m bored with the ocean

I stood at the lip of it, dressed in down, praying for snow
I know, I’m strange, too much light makes me nervous

at least in this land where the trees always bear green.
I know something that doesn’t die can’t be beautiful.

Have you ever stood on a frozen lake, California?
The sun above you, the snow & stalled sea—a field of mirror

all demanding to be the sun too, everything around you
is light & it’s gorgeous & if you stay too long it will kill you

& it’s so sad, you know? You’re the only warm thing for miles
& the only thing that can’t shine.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured poems! For more posts like this, click here.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan



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