Today's poem is "Scribe"
from Messenger
Louisiana State University Press

R. T. Smith is the author of eleven poetry collections—including Trespasser and Split the Lark— and one book of short stories. He edits the literary quarterly Shenandoah for Washington and Lee University. LSU will release his new poetry collection, Brightwood, in 2003.

About Messenger:
"The poems of R. T. Smith's new book, Messenger, take place in our own country and in Ireland, the natural world, the old kingdom of childhood, the kingdom also of dream. But more truly they take place in a mind that lives, reverently, halfway between the apparent and the improbable. It is where we all live, of course, and Smith's lovely, probing, untarnishable poems speak to us therefore with a special importance. They are built of attention, devotion, and a fine, quiet music; they reveal Smith, himself, as a generous and uncommon messenger."
—Mary Oliver

"Rod Smith has an eye as tremblingly accurate as the jab of a needle, and his perceptions are wound into a jagged sweet music like a gypsy violin. He is one of our finest poets from either side of the Atlantic."
—John Montague

"R. T. Smith's poems are strict and beautiful in the clarity of their language and their vision. They attend with heart and mind to the details of place and the remains of our relationship with it. In short, Messenger is a splendid book, line-by-line a deep delight. It deserves a wide audience."
—Charles Frazier

"Chief among the pleasures R. T. Smith's poetry gives us is its fierce attentiveness to the texture of this world—the skin of a poppy, the bitter scent of azaleas, peach bits bright as fireflies on the tongue. In language that kindles on the tongue and lingers in the ear, the poems in Messenger do precisely what the ghostly messenger in the book's title poem calls the young poet to do: 'You must say your life to save it.' Like R. M. Rilke, who in his famous lines from the Duino Elegies suggests that we are here on this earth to say bridge, fountain, gate, Smith continues to say, with passion and grace, his particular world—blackbird wing, wallpaper zinnias, the quoit of hair around a wrist . . ."
—Kathryn Stripling Byer


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