Clint Smith


Clint Smith

Award-Winning Teacher | Acclaimed Spoken Word Poet

Clint Smith believes we all share a story, the human story. It’s in the telling, he believes, that we emerge as individuals and celebrate what we have in common. His two TED Talks, The Danger of Silence and How to Raise a Black Son in America, have been viewed more than five million times. Using his experience as an award-winning teacher, writer, and poet to share personal stories of justice, community, and education, his customizable art-form illuminates how we can all find the courage to create change, overcome challenges, and unite ourselves through the power of the collective voice.

Clint is a writer, teacher, and doctoral candidate in Education at Harvard University with a concentration in Culture, Institutions, and Society. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship with research interests that include mass incarceration, the sociology of racism, and the history of U.S. inequality. Previously, he taught high school English in Prince George’s County, Maryland where, in 2013, he was named the Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council.

He has spoken at the 2015 TED Conference in Vancouver; the U.S. Department of Education; the IB Conference of the Americas; and the Aspen Ideas Festival, among many others. He has been profiled in The Washington Post, Vox, The Huffington Post, The Root, NBC News and the book, American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom.

Clint is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion, an Individual World Poetry Slam Finalist, a Cave Canem Fellow, a Callaloo Fellow, and has served as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State.

His writing has been published or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Guardian, The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. He is the author of Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He was born and raised in New Orleans.

The Danger of Silence

What are the consequences of our silence in the face of other’s suffering? How can we move from being bystanders to the world around us, and into active, empathetic citizens? Clint Smith using his experience as a teacher and poet to share personal stories of justice, community, and education to illuminate how we can all recognize the power of our voice.

Spoken Word Poetry in the Classroom

How can spoken word poetry be used to enhance student investment and change the culture of a classroom?

Clint Smith is an award winner educator, National Poetry Slam champion, and Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University. He has spoken at the U.S. Department of Education, the IB Conference of the Americas, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, and numerous universities throughout the country.

Listen as Clint shares how spoken word poetry can be used in the classroom to transform the way students think about literature and writing.

Understanding Across Lines of Difference

In an increasingly diversifying world, it is essential for us to develop the skills and understanding to empathize across lines of differences. Clint Smith shares his poetry and personal story of navigating differences and understanding that we all share a common humanity.

Writing for Social Change

Writing has the transformative power to help us not only to imagine a new world, but to construct it. Clint leads writing workshops all over the world from state prisons to Ivy League universities, and finds that we all share the desire to create a better society. Listen as Clint discusses how creative writing can be used to start important dialogue that leads to action.