Patricia Smith Breaks Down “Hip-Hop Ghazal”

In a beautiful convergence of hip-hop and poetry, teacher, poet, and overall “word woman” extraordinaire, Patricia Smith, has shed light on her “Hip-Hop Ghazal” on Rap Genius. What’s a ghazal, you ask? Read the annotations to find out!

Gotta love us brown girls, munching on fat, swinging blue hips,
decked out in shells and splashes, Lawdie, bringing them woo hips.

Smith moves masterfully through the musical couplets, cheekily evoking the joy and pride of “brown girls” swinging their “blue hips” while the jukebox plays. In keeping with ghazal tradition, she even makes playful reference to herself:

Crying ’bout getting old—Patricia, you need to get up off
what God gave you. Say a prayer and start slinging. Cue hips.

Smith is the author of numerous books including Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (Coffee House Press, 2012); Blood Dazzler (2008); Teahouse of the Almighty (2006), a 2005 National Poetry Series selection; and Big Talk (1992), which won the Carl Sandburg Literary Award. She’s also been a four-time individual National Poetry Slam champion and a featured poet on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. One of the most acclaimed living spoken word artists, she has performed her work around the world.


  1. Reblogged this on Diligent Candy and commented:
    It is intriguing – the choice of the ghazal – when its written by a woman, traditionally ghazals were a male bastion but to read a ghazal like this written with so much gusto its (for the lack of a more lusty adjective) delicious…

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