The Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series of Hope College will feature Patricia Smith on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland.

Smith will also participate in a question-and-answer session earlier in the day, at 3:30 p.m., in the Martha Miller Center’s Fried-Hemenway Auditorium (Room 135).

The public is invited to both events. Admission is free.

Called “a testament to the power of words to change lives,” Patricia Smith is recognized as a force in the fields of poetry, playwriting, fiction, performance and creative collaboration.

She is the author of six critically-acknowledged volumes of poetry, including “Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah” (finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America), “Blood Dazzler” (a National Book Award finalist), and “Teahouse of the Almighty” (a National Poetry Series winner), all from Coffee House Press; “Close to Death” and “Big Towns, Big Talk,” both from Zoland Books; and “Life According to Motown,” just released by Tia Chucha Press in a special 20th anniversary edition. She also edited the crime fiction anthology “Staten Island Noir.” Her other books include “Africans in America” (Harcourt Brace), a companion volume to the groundbreaking four-part PBS history series, and the children’s book, “Janna and the Kings,” a Lee & Low Books New Voices Award winner.

Smith’s work has appeared in “Poetry” (including the journal’s 100th anniversary edition), “The Paris Review,” “Granta,” “Tin House,” “TriQuarterly,” “poemmemoirstory,” “Ecotone,” “Able Muse” and many other journals; and in dozens of groundbreaking anthologies, including “Best American Poetry,” “Best American Essays,” “Villanelles,” “Killer Verse--Poems of Mayhem and Murder,” “American Tensions--Literary Identity and the Search for Justice” and “100 Best African American Poems.”

Her contribution to “Staten Island Noir,” the story “When They Are Done with Us” won the Robert L. Fish Award from the Poetry Society of America (for best debut story in the genre) and is upcoming in “Best American Mystery Stories 2013.” She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, for her poems “The Way Pilots Walk” and “Laugh Your Troubles Away!” In the summer of 2012, she was awarded fellowships to both Yaddo and the McDowell Colony, where she worked in a studio once occupied by James Baldwin.

She is a four-time national individual champion of the notorious and wildly popular Poetry Slam, the most successful competitor in slam history. She was featured in the nationally-released film “Slamnation,” and appeared on the award-winning HBO series “Def Poetry Jam.”

An accomplished and sought-after instructor of poetry, performance and creative writing, Smith appears often at creative conferences and residencies, customizes workshops for all age groups and is available for intensive individual instruction.

She is a Cave Canem faculty member, a professor of English at CUNY/College of Staten Island and a faculty member of the Sierra Nevada MFA program.

Additional information is available online at

The Knickerbocker Theatre is located at 86 E. Eighth St., on Eighth Street between College and Columbia avenues.  The Martha Miller Center for Global Communication is located at 257 Columbia Ave., on Columbia Avenue at 10th Street.