Danez Smith, a Cave Canem Fellow and 2-time Pushcart Nominee, works in Madison, WI, as an Student Advisor for the First Wave Program at UW-Madison. He likes tattoos, bad food, drinking Capri Suns, reading manga and good poems. His work appears or is forthcoming in PANK, Vinyl, Radius, Southern Indiana Review, and other places. He slams sometimes, placing 6th in the world at the 2011 Individual World Poetry Slam. His One-Man Theatre Production “For Those Who Pray In Closets” is receiving critical acclaim and standing ovations wherever performed. Danez has travelled across the country and the globe to Mexico, Panama, Switzerland, and England to perform poetry and theatre. A young artist walking and writing in the footsteps of Balwin and  Hughes, Danez seeks to continue to be a voice for hushed choir boys, the walking shadows, the joy, hurt, and journey of the black, queer men. Pulling from his artistic endeavors in music and theatre, his voice on the page sings of his old soul, his experienced youth, his treasured mistakes, and all the things that imagine him human. 

Some Past Performances

  • Contact Theatre, 2-Night Run and World Premiere of One-Man Show “For Those who pray in Closets”, Manchester, Uk, 2011
  • Contact Theatre, Contacting The World Theatre Festival, Manchester, UK 2010
  • George Washington University, Brave New Voices Showcase, Washington, DC 2008
  • El Rey Theatre, CUSPI Slam Finals, Albuquerque, NM 2008
  • College Leadership Conference Performance-Anaheim, CA 2007
  • Crosshatxh Poetry Series Feature- Madison, WI 2010
  • New York Knicks Slam Feature- New York, NY 2007/2008
  • First Wave Dance Performance- Brockport, NY 2008
  • Line Breaks One Wo(Man) Shows - Madison, WI 2010
  • Brave New Voices International Poetry Slam Feature 2008 Feature- Washington, DC 2008
  • First Avenue, Twin Cities Festival of Hip-Hop, Minneapolis, MN 2007
  • Moonshine Festival- Madison, WI 2008, 2009, 2010
  • Mary Lou Williams Ensemble- Madison, WI 2010


  • Best Poet under 21- Twin Cites’ Urban Griot Award
  • Young and Talented Feature- Spectrum Magazine
  • 2008 Slam Champion- Madison Adult and College Slam
  • Tour Member, Brave New Voices The Tour, 2008-Present
Articles Mentioning Danez:

"Good theater is often defined by words of violence, i.e. an artist "killing" an audience. Using this vernacular it's fair to say Smith is an absolute character assassin. His lengthy, exhausting, exhilarating piece "The Problem with Sundays" pitted seven characters against the subjects of religion, love and homosexuality."
-Andy Moore, The Isthmus

Danez In Deep Thought