Author Archives: Jessica Smith

8 June 2009 / Buffalo A poem about the first time my friend/now husband told me he loved me, now up at Newport Life for NaPoWriMo, thanks to editor Susana Gardner.

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11 February 2004 / Buffalo I’m quietly plugging along at my NaPoWriMo, and The Rumpus is featuring a poem each day in April. Today, one of my recent poems is up here.

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Nazca ekphrasis

Some mini ekphrastic poems about the Nazca lines and Nazca pottery are up at 17 seconds. These are part of a series of little “light-touch” ekphrastic poems, some of which were recently in The Brooklyn Rail and some of which are … Continue reading

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Z:En

John Bloomberg-Rissman digs into my completely erased text, Zen, over at Bibliotheca Invisibilis. You can get your own copy (.pdf or printed) here.

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Ekphrasis and the afterimage of the sonnet

A handful of my recent ekphrastic poems are up at The Brooklyn Rail. These are from a series about mothers and their children inspired by an old book discarded from our library, A Gallery of Mothers and their Children* (Marian King, … Continue reading

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The Emerald Tablet

Derek Fenner’s The Emerald Tablet, a collection of writing responding to the Emerald Tablet, was initially published in a small run and only available to contributors and friends– a kind of “secret book.” It is now available to the general … Continue reading

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Welcome to Boog City 7.5 Festival Program I helped book the Boog City Festival for President’s Day weekend. If you’re in Brooklyn, check it out! 

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In the Library with the Lead Pipe on Poet-Librarians

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Erasures in La Vague

I work in a library that has been weeding thousands of books (outdated, water damaged, and otherwise in poor condition– it had not been weeded in years and we’re downsizing as our research/space needs change), so my friends and I … Continue reading

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butterflies (tinysides 2006)

From 2006-2008, Maureen Thorson published small chapbooks called “tinysides,” which began as a large folded sheet of paper with a colored cover, saddle-stitched into an uncut codex with binding thread. If I remember correctly, she got the idea while trying … Continue reading

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2013 Year in Review

After some time off from my own poetry,* I pulled together a book manuscript last Fall and have spent 2013 editing and adding to it, entering it in contests, writing new poems, and otherwise newly engaging in the poetry community … Continue reading

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The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange

While working at the SFSU Poetry Center, Melissa Eleftherion Carr developed the Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange, a digital repository of chapbooks that she intended to function by exchange: when you uploaded your own chapbooks, you would gain access to the … Continue reading

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The Chapbook

The Chapbook Journal is a periodical that collects new and reprinted chapbooks in one codex. Vol. 2 focuses on Alabama writers and includes chapbooks by Patti White, Emma Bolden, Jim Hilgartner, Jennifer Horne, Laura Hendrix Ezell, and Michael Martone. My included … Continue reading

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Gondwanaland

When Derek Motion asked me for poems for a special issue of Cordite Poetry Review on Gondwanaland, I combined geological research with the acupuncture maps of the body and my physical experience of memory, pain, and desire. Here is the result, lovingly programmed by … Continue reading

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Trobar Ric, Oxford, MS

My colleague and friend Douglas Ray and I went to Oxford, MS yesterday to read in Michael Martin Shea‘s Trobar Ric reading series (which he inherited from Tim Early; recent readers have included Adam Clay and Ada Limon, and Douglas … Continue reading

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Z”l

A memorial book for the family of CJ Martin and Julia Drescher, now available for pre-order here

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How to be a good poetry citizen

Yes Yes 1. Read poetry 2. Listen to poetry 3. Disseminate poetry 4. Write poetry 5. Remain open to learning more No No 1. Don’t bully other poets online or in person 2. Don’t write bad reviews of a poet’s … Continue reading

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The Volta: Women of Visual Poetry Issue

I spent the first three weeks of June guest editing the September issue of The Volta/Evening Will Come, which focuses on visual poetry created by women. Thanks to Joshua Marie Wilkinson and Noah Eli Gordon for letting me put this … Continue reading

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Ottawa Reading

I had fun reading poetry in Ottawa last weekend and meeting a bunch of cool poets, including my publisher rob mclennan and my co-readers Amanda Earl and Marilyn Irwin. I read from my recent chapbook mnemotechnics (available here). Recording here. … Continue reading

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New poems in Tarpaulin Sky

5 poems from my birds/memory project in Tarpaulin Sky Magazine (thanks Christian!)… if you like these, consider checking out poems from the same manuscript in N/A and my recent chapbook, mnemotechnics (above/ground press). Ottawa! I will be reading in your … Continue reading

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Review of mnemotechnics

With each line as deliberate as a brushstroke, Smith constructs scenes on standalone details, which – like the birds she muses – contribute insights best when taken as a flock. Ryan Pratt in Ottawa Poetry Newsletter

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New poems in N/A

Some new excerpts from my ongoing birds/memories project are in the first issue of N/A, Ed. Amish Trivedi.

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A new poem in aesthetix, a poetry journal that provides constraints. In this case, poems were to be titled “800.” Ed. Molly Brodak

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Creativity is something that is inherent in everyone….

Creativity is something that is inherent in everyone, but it gets beaten down a lot in our production-focused educational and economic systems. The library remains a democratizing and nurturing environment where creativity can thrive. New Boog City (.pdf) with an interview … Continue reading

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Curate What You Know

In my “other life,” I’m a librarian. I’ve tried to integrate my poetry life with my library life by hosting poetry readings at the library.  My guest blog post on Library as Incubator Project describes our main library program, the Indian … Continue reading

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Read “wild swans,” a poem from my birds/memories database poetry project, at Open Letters Monthly

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mnemotechnics

A selection of poems from my manuscript mnemotechnics is available as a chapbook from above/ground press. Cover illustration by Alixandra Bamford. mnemotechnics is about birds and memory– specifically, it’s an homage to the life-list, the list that a birdwatcher keeps of all … Continue reading

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Curation, not Competition: Pinterest and Poetry

For those of you who haven’t ever used it, Pinterest is a link storage site (similar to delicious) that organizes bookmarks with pictures; it’s also similar to Tumblr in that you can like and share links.* Users make “boards” and … Continue reading

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NaPoWriMo Day 27: Shorts

We’re packing and cleaning this weekend to get ready to move for May 1. As you can probably tell, I ran out of NaPoWriMo steam mid-month when we finalized the house purchase. This poem is for the spiders we’ve uprooted: … Continue reading

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NaPoWriMo Day 26: Child-Poem

My 2.5 year old son dictated this poem to me, including the placement and sizes of the words. I like his use of space. One thing that’s really interesting to me about his perception of the world is the way … Continue reading

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Recent novels

A few contemporary novels I’ve read recently that I liked, with rough descriptions. 1. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes This short book is so well-written, it’s all but perfect. The plot is a little weird, and it’s … Continue reading

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NaPoWriMo Day 24: Pure Narrative

Yeah, so I missed a few days. We bought a house. People buy houses all the time, and it seems like it must be an easy process because people do it all the time, but it’s not easy. It wasn’t … Continue reading

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Top 10 Novels

1. Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov) The Great American Novel was written by a Russian aristocratic expat, and one of its two main characters is a similar European expat– but then, most of us came here from elsewhere, and until recently, English wasn’t … Continue reading

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NaPoWriMo Days 10, 13-15: Layers

This weekend, we went to Atlanta for Nick’s 30th birthday; his gift was tickets to both They Might Be Giants shows at Variety Playhouse. Before we left, we went to the Birmingham Museum of Art to see the hippos. In … Continue reading

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Pigeon interlude

    Ash Smith, Sarah Campbell, Pattie McCarthy and I have been responding on Facebook to a post from Ash about pigeons. I wanted to share two recent (non-NaPoWriMo) poems on the subject.

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NaPoWriMo Day 12: Politics

This poems follows the “x is a y” extended metaphor model that I grew up with in k-12 creative writing lessons. Here I want to think about violence and choice. I took a phrase from this Salon article about North … Continue reading

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NaPoWriMo Day 11: Magic

This poem isn’t what I expected it to be when I started a pleasant little pastoral poem about hens. Turns out, chickens are both magical and anarchical. Breeder beware. I’m a day behind– didn’t write anything yesterday. I’ll catch up.

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NaPoWriMo Day 9: Nature

Been reading Christina Rossetti, feeling “listy” (in contrast to “listless”?) Read NaPoWriMO poems by other poets here.

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NaPoWriMo Day 8: Myth

This is not the poem I want to write about this.  It’s too fragmentary– I’m not sure it’s ultimately clear enough what it’s about (when writing fragmentary, multi-linear poetry, there must be a perfect balance between ambiguity and clarity– just … Continue reading

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NaPoWriMo Day 7: Collaboration

Yesterday a magical thing happened: I learned that my old friends K. Lorraine Graham and Mark Wallace were reading poetry at the Fusebox series in Chattanooga, about 2 hours northeast of my home in Birmingham. I went into my son’s … Continue reading

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NaPoWriMo Day 6: Storytelling

Sometimes you just want to tell a story, y’know? Here are two: one is a brief retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Wild Swans” (as a child I was enchanted by this magical, dream-like fairy tale) and one is … Continue reading

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NaPoWriMo Day 5: Collage

This poem is “about” mourning/doves and comprises personal memories; descriptions of mourning doves both created and stolen; some Deleuze and some other stuff. Since I was a teenager, I’ve enjoyed hanging out in art museums. I think Frank Stella‘s 3-D collages … Continue reading

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NaPoWriMo Day 4: Chance

I didn’t “write any poems” yesterday, so I used chance to generate one. Some people write entire poems with chance operations, but I use them to generate material for collage/sculptural poems. So I was trying to remember a quote that … Continue reading

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What the Heck is NaPoWriMo

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NaPoWriMo Day 3: Ekphrasis

I wrote four partial poems today. Here’s one. It’s from a new “project” (I think of poems in terms of groups of them, usually chapbook-sized groups, rather than individual poems) of ekphrastic poems. When I was first thinking about Plasticity … Continue reading

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NaPoWriMo Day 2: Collages

Here’s an example of a poem that still needs to be built. So far we have some birds, some Wordsworth, and a Mayan myth about where hummingbirds got their color. I should probably add more information about migration, because I … Continue reading

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NaPoWriMo Day 1: Drafting

I’m still revising/adding to a manuscript that, long story short, I wrote half of in 2001, and half in the past year. It was a finalist for the Nightboat Book Prize a few months ago; before that, back in 2001-03 … Continue reading

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Editors and Poets

A few years ago, I tried to be an Editor. Mostly, I was bad at it. I accepted more manuscripts than I had the time or financing to publish. I made a really awesome magazine called Foursquare, but publishing it … Continue reading

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2003-2013: Ten years of nostalgia

I’m in Boston for AWP– I’m moderating a panel tomorrow at 1:30 on Poetry and Librarianship. In the Spring of 2003, another early March if I remember correctly, I was in Cambridge for the NEMLA conference, giving a paper on … Continue reading

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Transient Views of Western New York

Screen shots from Terry Cuddy’s film Transient Views of Western New York (2002) treating my chapbook bird-book (2001), now in this Flickr photo set.

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