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About this poet

Carmen Giménez Smith was born on February 20, 1971, in New York City. She received a BA in English from San Jose State University in 1994 and an MFA in creative writing from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

She is the author of the poetry collections Be Recorder, forthcoming from Graywolf Press in the fall of 2019, Cruel Futures (City Lights Publishers, 2018); Milk & Filth (University of Arizona Press, 2013); Goodbye, Flicker (University of Massachusetts Press, 2012), winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry; The City She Was (Center for Literary Publishing, 2011); and Odalisque in Pieces (University of Arizona Press, 2009).

Her poetry is well known for its portrayal of the experiences and histories of women, particularly those of Latina identity. The poet Dana Levin says of her poems, “It’s as if Giménez Smith threw a stone called ‘girl’ into the pong of psyche—a psyche both personal and collective—and these are the ripples.”

Giménez Smith says, “I think that the canon privileges male histories, both political and private, whereas women’s same histories are seen as domestic trifles. So I intend to go as deep as possible into those trifles.” She is also the author of a memoir, Bring Down the Little Birds: On Mothering, Art, Work, and Everything Else (University of Arizona Press, 2010).

The recipient of an American Book Award and a fellowship from the Howard Foundation, Giménez Smith was named one of Poetry Society of America’s New American Poets in 2009. She currently teaches in the creative writing programs at Virginia Tech and Bennington College and also serves as the publisher of Noemi Press as well as the editor, alongside Stephanie Burt, of the Nation’s poetry section. In 2018, she became a codirector at CantoMundo. She lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry
Be Recorder (Graywolf Press, 2019)
Cruel Futures (City Lights Publishers, 2018)
Milk and Filth (University of Arizona Press, 2013)
Goodbye, Flicker (University of Massachusetts Press, 2012)
The City She Was (Center for Literary Publishing, 2011)
Odalisque in Pieces (University of Arizona Press, 2009)

Prose
Bring Down the Little Birds: On Mothering, Art, Work, and Everything Else (University of Arizona Press, 2010)

Television Prevents Me From Seeing the World as It Really Is

Simultaneity and Good Exposition are impossible in film and TV!

Workplace shows tout hypercompetence and workaholism!

Soap operas and sitcoms are the genre novels of television!

TV villains have a paradoxical narcotic effect!

Television makes spitefulness in men a siren song, but a venom in women!

Reality television is filled with people who make banality into cash!

My petty Madame Bovarian despair is at the core of all my watching!

Violence is more famous than pornography!

The serial killer is fetishized because America collects everything! 

How frangible our women, one choice from death!

Let’s bring that back on CBS!

From Cruel Futures. Copyright © 2018 by Carmen Giménez Smith. Used with the permission of City Lights Books.

From Cruel Futures. Copyright © 2018 by Carmen Giménez Smith. Used with the permission of City Lights Books.

Carmen Giménez Smith

Carmen Giménez Smith

Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of Cruel Futures (City Lights Publishers, 2018) and (Milk & Filth (University of Arizona Press, 2013).

by this poet

poem
all of my belongings in the box       of my room
enumerated are        books and pages the stench of evening body
the halo hair on my daughter’s sketch of us  glass of flat diet pepsi
clips of words
poem
We make dogma out of letter writing: the apocryphal story 
of Lincoln who wrote angry letters he never sent. We wait for letters 
for days and days. Someone tells me I'll write you a letter
and I feel he's saying you're different than anyone else.
Distance's buzz gets louder and louder. It gets to
poem

I was light from the mouth from every part of me
I was of the earth or a scar in the earth rent through
the ruins of late civilization and bubbled from it and
became a saint’s reptilian spirit and I could taste
the wheat and coal and gold like a trinity of bounty
and I was vapor like a smog

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