Today's poem is "Leaf Boat"
from Distant Early Warning

Tupelo Press

Rad Smith, born in 1947, grew up in Minnesota, and attended Harvard, where he studied with Elizabeth Bishop. He worked in high-tech for 15 years, then abandoned that to become a stay-at-home dad and write poetry. In 1998, he learned he was in the final stages of lung cancer, although he never smoked. Working feverishly, he finished this manuscript before he died in December of that year.

About Distant Early Warning:

"When I first read the poems of Rad Smith, I wrote his widow: 'As you might imagine, I have seen many manuscripts by people whom I have not known, and over the last fifty years I have read thousands and thousands of poems in manuscript. There is only one other occasion when I read a collection with so much enthusiasm.' We have lost a precious maker, losing Rad Smith."
—Donald Hall

"My grief at meeting Rad Smith's poems only after his life has ended in no way distracts from my delight in the brilliance of his work. I am soothed by knowing his name and our belief that his poetry will give deep pleasure to future readers."
—Hilda Raz

"An extraordinary sensitivity, especially for nature (including humans), reminding me a bit of Mary Oliver's poetic sensibilities. . ."
—Lawrence Felinghetti

"In his final strength, we visited our friend in the hospital, encouraged him to work on what would be his last poem. 'Requiem Shark.' When we read the completed poem, we asked Rad if he could teach us to write like this. 'You can't,' he said. 'You have to be dying. . ."
—Barbara Helfgott Hyett and Wendy Mnookin

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