Danez Smith said that a poet's duty is "to make sure that there's a record of what it meant to live, love, fight, rebel and be."
Lately, Smith can't talk about poetry without also addressing the political climate that surrounds it.
"Right now, we feel stuck in a political cycle that feels very chaotic and very 'dystopic' for a lot of folks," Smith told MPR News host Kerri Miller. "But I think any time we're sort of wound with emotion, whether that be an emotion towards utopia and joy or whether that be towards dystopia and fear, and confusion, and political angst, I think we always reach for poetry because it's something that can distill humanity down for us and make it feel really both palatable and otherworldly at the same time."
Smith spoke with Miller about "Don't Call Us Dead," and about the mission to "write America down."
Use the audio player above to hear the full discussion