Patricia Smith, winner of the 2021 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, is the author of eight books of poetry, including Incendiary Art (Northwestern University Press 2017), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award, the LA Times Book Prize, the NAACP Image Award and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (Coffee House Press, 2012), winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; and Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press, 2008), a National Book Award finalist.

She is a Guggenheim fellow, an NEA grant recipient, a finalist for the Neudstadt Prize, a former fellow at Civitella Ranieri, Yaddo and MacDowell and and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history. Smith is a distinguished professor for the City University of New York and a visiting professor at Princeton University. Her next book of poems, Unshuttered, will be released by Northwestern University Press in February.