Category Archives: Poetry

Esmé Wonders How She’ll Die

Esmé Wonders How She’ll Die

– for Lisa

…perspective is a lie. If I know a pond is round then why should I draw it oval? I will draw it round because round is true. Why should my brush lie to you just because my eyes lie to me? – Terry Pratchett

I shot the boy
whose piano chanted
in the monastery of rain. Continue reading Esmé Wonders How She’ll Die

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New poems up at Poetry Pacific

Well, part self-promotion and part shout-out to a worthy online literary journal. I recently retired from writing poetry, but I still have things in submission and will likely continue trying to find homes for the things I have already written.

I’m pleased to direct everyone to Poetry Pacific, where three of the poems from my latest book (“Photo Album: Venezia, 1562,” “Kitsune’s Wedding” and “Coderain”) appear today. Poetry Pacific is a new literary e-zine edited by the immensely talented Dr. Changming Yuan, a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee whose work we were honored to feature in the lit journal back in January. As I have said before, small, innovative literary outlets, many of them Web-based, are the future of poetry, and I was really struck when I first visited Poetry Pacific last year by the quality of what Yuan was publishing.

So wander on over and have a look, if you would, and take the time to work through some of the other authors presented there. You may find a new favorite.

“Eleven Fables” and “To Be Continued (Ars Poetica)” published in Manifest West anthology

I’m exceedingly proud to announce that two of my previous published poems, “Eleven Fables” and “To Be Continued (Ars Poetica)” (both in last year’s Pemmican) have been included in the Western State Colorado University Press anthology, Manifest West. This is a great new series and the quality of the work, which focuses on humor and the West, is outstanding.

You can read the poems themselves over at Pemmican (no point in duplicating things).

Big day: I have three new poems in the just-released Summer Amethyst Arsenic

The Summer 2012 issue of Amethyst Arsenic, a great online poetry and art journal, is now available, featuring poetry from Cassandra de Alba, Mary Kovaleski Byrnes, James Caroline, Meaghan Ford, Hannah Galvin, Casey Rocheteau, Rene Schwiesow, Steve Subrizi and many more. Plus, art from Pauline Lim, Ivan de Monbrison and Jessica Pinsky. Also, yes, I have three pieces in it: “1638,” “Wedding Song,” and “Meditation: Monarch Mountain.” Here’s a taste:

Meditation: Monarch Mountain

Aspens white-barked, gold.
Winter is coming, early 
snow on Monarch Pass.

Continue reading Big day: I have three new poems in the just-released Summer Amethyst Arsenic

Archipelago: “Lasse is dead. He committed suicide yesterday.”

In 2005 my friend and colleague, Lars Bjuvberg, committed suicide in Stockholm. Lars and I weren’t all that close, but his death hit me in a way that I still don’t fully understand. Perhaps it was as simple as the fact that someone so very talented had escorted himself off this mortal stage.

Or perhaps it was more complicated – as I learned more about the story, I found myself empathizing with him and understanding his decision. I had written about suicide before, and in ways that perhaps suggested something about my own relationship with what many regard as the gravest of human sins. Continue reading Archipelago: “Lasse is dead. He committed suicide yesterday.”

Samuel Smith: Six Poems Now Up at Pemmican

Pemmican Press

I’ve been ecstatic to have some of my poetry accepted in recent months (after the usual stream of rejections that typify the life of the not-yet-famous poet). In this case, the publication in question is Pemmican, an outstanding online journal that’s been around since the early 1990s. They pride themselves on publishing work that is “outside the mainstream of its day.” In acknowledging their debt to the journals that helped shape their vision, the editors say this:

That poetry might be characterized as not only differing from the stylistic and structural conventions of its time but in its use of imagery and language, its sense of “place” (or lack of place in some cases), and, perhaps most important of all, its embrace of the political as a proper subject for poetry. Continue reading Samuel Smith: Six Poems Now Up at Pemmican

Old Ethan, Halfway Home

          - Imbolc 2011, 2:17am MST

Old Ethan like a walking stick, daylong shadow:
sets him after a halfway pole
fifty mile through a
dankling woods.

October throwed his scarecoat down.
November framed those woods a house of smoke.
December painted the black days white.
Come January, the ringnecks froze in place.
Treelocked they'll sit 'til April
flumes their melted songs to the sea.

Now Midwinter:

          a milepost on a swerving road,
          a weed in a tombyard. 

Turns him 'round and marks for home.
Never know home until you get there,
never know halfways at all.