National Book Foundation Presents: The Power of Poetry

Ballroom 1, Summit Building, Seattle Convention Center, Level 5
Thursday, March 9, 2023
12:10 pm to 1:25 pm


Join National Book Award–honored authors Donika Kelly (Bestiary, 2016 Poetry Longlist) and Danez Smith (Don’t Call Us Dead, 2017 Poetry Finalist) in a conversation about the power of poetry for both author and reader, and its influence on the evolution of their own writing across collections. Presented in partnership with the National Book Foundation, and moderated by the Foundation’s Executive Director Ruth Dickey. This event will be livestreamed. ASL interpretation and live captioning will be provided.


Moderator: Ruth Dickey has spent over 25 years working at the intersection of community building, writing, and art, now as Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. Ruth previously had the pleasure of leading organizations in Washington, DC; New Orleans, LA; Cincinnati, OH; and, most recently, in Seattle, WA, as Executive Director of Seattle Arts & Lectures. An ardent fan of dogs and coffee, she served as a fiction judge for the 2019 National Book Awards, and holds an MFA in poetry from UNC-Greensboro, and a BS in Foreign Service and an MA in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University.

Danez Smith is the author of three collections, most recently Homie and Don't Call Us Dead, a finalist for the National Book Award. They are the cohost of the podcast VS with poet Franny Choi.

Donika Kelly is the author of The Renunciations, winner of the Anisfield-Wolf book award in poetry, and Bestiary, the winner of the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and a Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She is a Cave Canem graduate fellow and a founding member of the collective Poets at the End of the World. Her poems have been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. She is an assistant professor in the English Department at the University of Iowa, where she teaches creative writing.

February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center