ACCLAIMED SPOKEN WORD POET; AWARD-WINNING EDUCATOR
Clint Smith is a writer, teacher, and doctoral candidate in Education at Harvard University with a concentration in Culture, Institutions, and Society. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship with research interests that include mass incarceration, the sociology of race, and the history of U.S. inequality. Previously, he taught high school English in Prince George’s County, Maryland where, in 2013, he was named the Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council.
He has spoken at the 2015 TED Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, the U.S. Department of Education, the IB Conference of the Americas, the Aspen Summit on Inequality and Opportunity. He has been profiled in The Washington Post, NPR's Here & Now, Vox, The Huffington Post, The Root, NBC News, and The Boston Globe. His two TED Talks, The Danger of Silence and How to Raise a Black Son in America, collectively have been viewed more than 5 million times.
Clint is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion and a 2017 recipient of the Jerome J. Shestack Prize from the American Poetry Review. He is also a Cave Canem Fellow, a Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop Fellow, and has served as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State. His writing has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Guardian, Boston Review, the Harvard Educational Review and elsewhere. His first full-length collection of poetry, Counting Descent, was published by Write Bloody Publishing in 2016. It won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award, and was selected as the 2017 'One Book One New Orleans' book selection.
Clint earned a BA in English from Davidson College and is an alumnus of the New Orleans Public School System.
Based on his debut poetry collection, Clint's coming of age story seeks to complicate our conception of lineage and tradition. He explores the cognitive dissonance that results from belonging to a community that unapologetically celebrates black humanity while living in a world that often renders blackness a caricature of fear. His poems move fluidly across personal and political histories, all the while reflecting on the social construction of our lived experiences. Clint brings the reader on a powerful journey forcing us to reflect on all that we learn growing up, and all that we seek to unlearn moving forward.
THE DANGER OF SILENCE
People spend so much time listening to things others are saying that they rarely pay attention to the things they don't say. In this powerful piece from the heart and open discussion, poet and teacher Clint Smith discusses finding the courage to speak up against ignorance and injustice.
HOW TO RAISE A BLACK SON IN AMERICA
As kids, we all get advice from parents and teachers that seems strange, even confusing. This was crystallized one night for a young Clint Smith, who was playing with water guns in a dark parking lot with his white friends. In a heartfelt piece, the poet paints the scene of his father's furious and fearful response.