William Jay Smith was born in 1918 in Winnfield, Louisiana. He studied at Washington University, Columbia University, and at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Smith served as a poetry consultant to the Library of Congress (the position now known as the U.S. Poet Laureate) from 1968 until 1970, and has been a member of The Academy of Arts and Letters since 1975, as well as a former vice-president for literature. Smith, noted for his translations, has won awards from both the French Academy, the Swedish Academy, and the Hungarian government. Including his most recent collection, The Cherokee Lottery (Curbstone Press, 2000), he has written ten collections of poetry, two of which were nominated for the National Book Award. Smith was a poet in residence at Williams College from 1959-1967, Chairman of the Writing Division of the School of Arts at Columbia University from 1973 until 1975, and currently is the Professor Emeritus of English at Hollins College. Smith makes his home between Cummington, Massachusetts, and Paris, France.
Look at him there in his stovepipe hat, His high-top shoes, and his handsome collar; Only my Daddy could look like that, And I love my Daddy like he loves his Dollar. The screen door bangs, and it sounds so funny-- There he is in a shower of gold; His pockets are stuffed with folding money, His lips are blue, and his hands feel cold. He hangs in the hall by his black cravat, The ladies faint, and the children holler: Only my Daddy could look like that, And I love my Daddy like he loves his Dollar.
From The World Below the Window: Poems 1937-1997 by William Jay Smith, page 91. Copyright © 1998 by William Jay Smith. Reprinted with the permission of Johns Hopkins University. All rights reserved.