Life According to Motown, Patricia Smith's first book, told of the glittery deceptions of the Motown era and the difficulties of growing up under their sway. Big Towns, Big Talk takes a look at what happens after you've grown up.
Smith's second collection of poetry reflects upon relationships, street life, and worlds familiar and unfamiliar. In these glimmering poems, the language itself comes alive and touches the soul, demonstrating why Smith is a popular performance poet. She is a master at overlaying vivid scenes with compassionate concern: "He wades brown rivers,/ struggles against the flat faces of mountains,/ his traveling blues off-key and furious,/ sung out to the woman who shrivels in a wooden bed,/ wrapped in sheets bleached blue and bitter,/ the fever eating her alive,/ her heart twisted and cramped in its shrinking pocket." Reading Big Towns, Big Talk is like witnessing the blues tugging at the heart; it shows how we can obtain insight into the lives of everyday people. This fine collection is recommended for major poetry collections. - Lenard D. Moore, United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake Cty., N.C.
"This Woman is powerful." -- The Village Voice Literary Supplement
"A vigorous, impressive talent." -- Booklist
"Patricia Smith's work is direct, colloquial, inclusive, adventuresome." -- Gwendolyn Brooks
"[These] poems sweat up the pages, caress the reader's eyes, set fire to the books they're printed in. Her language arcs in triumph, uniting tongue ear mind and eye. Words alive, bounce'n'jive -- there's a deep eloquence in the Soul and it's hers." -- Bob Holman