poem index


R. T. Smith

Washington , DC , United States
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R. T. Smith
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R. T. Smith was born in Washington, D. C., in 1947, and he was raised in Georgia and North Carolina.

He is the author of numerous poetry collections, including In the Night Orchard: New and Selected Poems (Texas Review Press, 2014) and Outlaw Style (University of Arkansas Press, 2007) and Messenger (Louisiana State University Press, 2001), which both received a Library of Virginia Annual Literary Award. He is also the author of the short story collection Faith (River City Publishing,1995), and he coedited Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia (University of Virginia Press, 2003) with Sarah Kennedy.

Smith has received fellowships and grants from Arts International, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and in 2013 he received the Carole Weinstein Prize in Poetry from the Library of Virginia. He has previously taught at Appalachian State University and Auburn University, where he coedited Southern Humanities Review. He currently serves as the writer-in-residence at Washington and Lee University, where he edits Shenandoah. He lives in Virginia.

Selected Bibliography

In the Night Orchard: New and Selected Poems (Texas Review Press, 2014)
The Red Wolf: A Dream of Flannery O’Connor (Louisiana Literature Press, 2013)
Outlaw Style (University of Arkansas Press, 2007)
The Hollow Log Lounge (University of Illinois Press, 2003)
Brightwood (Louisiana State University Press, 2003)
Messenger (Louisiana State University Press, 2001)
Trespasser (Louisiana State University Press, 1996)
Hunter-Gatherer (Livingston Press, 1996)
The Cardinal Heart (Livingston Press, 1991)
Finding the Path (Black Willow, 1983)
From the High Dive (Water Mark Press, 1983)

The Calaboose Epistles (Iris Press, 2009)
Uke River Delivers (Louisiana State University Press, 2006)
Faith (Black Belt Press, 1995)

by this poet

After Shiloh, with smoke still scumbling the air,
the Harper’s artist paced away
from the sunken road where a full brigade
had been strafed and decimated.
The flies had begun to swarm, lighting on the eyes
and open wounds of the fallen, the stench
already gut-wrenching, heartrending,
as were the groans
Out for a deadbolt, light bulbs 
and two-by-fours, I find a flock 
of sparrows safe from hawks

and weather under the roof 
of Lowe's amazing discount 
store. They skitter from the racks

of stockpiled posts and hoses 
to a spill of winter birdseed 
on the concrete floor. How

they know to forage here, 
I can't