Smith - contemporary poet

Some previous comments...
Some previous answers...

"as a closet poet and true lover of well-written words, i just wanted to say thanks for creating the kind of intelligent, thought-provoking and beautiful poetry I grew up hearing (and memorizing). and thanks for having the guts to make it rhyme in these non-rhyming times!" - Lorraine

"Man you are one sick basturd, find something good to write about. Like find a chick or something." - Brandon Pruett Blalock, Ukraine

"some company you keep , smith==in poetrys whorehouse of many rooms you belong in the philosophical-scientific wing with us==" - Jim Lang

"I am a spanish teenager of african decent (mozambique) living in Iowa studying literature as a major..i've flown around the world in search of my soul, just to find that my soul searches me too. I found your page while looking up Bohemian Artists,,because in fact that is what i am at heart! I love your work and feel i can learn alot from it. There's alot of transcendence in your work, which i find to give your work the outmost quality!! amazing!! There are many of us left in the world,,but if we don't colour the world..who will?? Thank you" - Bfly, age 19

"enthralling words...I adore the translation of emotion and the imagery you allow to exist...truly a great writer..." - R.Patient  United Kingdom

"perverted art" - Joe Smith, Kansas

"hi steve -- got the new artcrimes., what a fucking FANTASTIC publication. this is just beautiful. exquisite. & the 45 record insert -- genius. i just love this thing. you deserve more space on deep cleveland junkmail oracle. i'll give you an even bigger plug in one of my upcoming updates." - peace markk

"Thank you for the poems! I really enjoyed them. I love the sound of crotch and watch together. You have an amazing talent and dedication." - Judith Brandon

"Smith - now we just have to make you a national phenom." -Peter Ball

"wow, right on, good stuff. you are a motivated man, keep it up..... thankyou for sharing your talent...." - erik kipperman

"he he he ha ha ha. keep up the good work!" - S. Judson Wilcox

"I wanted to say thanks and congratulate you on producing such a great looking package [ArtCrimes #20]. It's very impressive and harkens back (for me) to Bukowski's "Crucifix In a Deathhand". But it's not just the bells and whistles; the content is equally impressive. As such I would be both honored and proud to participate in any new "Art Crimes" that you might endeavor to pull off." - Best, Gary Dumm

"I am 17 years old and pursuing a career as an artist/poet as well. I wanted to give you much praise for many very thought provoking and creative works, I am dumbfounded in the depths of thought in abstracts, which I can see in your work. I would enjoy words from a working artist and would have open ears if you would reply. end. Sonny"

[Smith's response: I'm 56 years old - and out of all those years there were 18 months in the early 1970s when I almost made my living as a writer (I still had to get a job as an early morning milkman to survive), and there were 18 months in the mid 1990s where I made enough selling my art to survive.

the rest of the time I've had to work 40 hours a week in the rat world to subsidize my art and poetry.

however - my life has been better, richer and more or less happier because of the art and poetry. the friends and experiences I've had through them definitely have made my journey more complex & interesting.

you may or may not make money in art/poetry (personally I've always wanted fame more than money) but the life poetry and art can bring is payment enough.

another thing. I'm 56, but the me inside is not all that far from my me at 17. I'm smarter, maybe wiser and definitely more cynical than I was then, but I've not strayed that far. I pretty much knew what I was then and have spent most of my life trying to get a little better at being me.]

"Collage/assemblage is such an intense personal narrative... your stuff is quite expressive & full of energy... very cornellduchampianesque! i am a multi-medium artmaker, but very new to computer medium. keep up the good work. art for arts sake, lou"

"I am an art student at Truro college, Cornwall, England. I have been asked to produce a personal investigation on a series of mixed media artists which i find inspirational as part of my course. I was wondering if it would be possible for you to send me some information about the techniques used etc to produce your work. yours sincerely, Lauren"

[Smith's response:

Pick stuff up.
Glue stuff down.
Exhibit it.

that's about it. i find stuff that resonates with me, i put it next to other stuff that highlights or undermines the resonance in the hope that it will make the viewer think, smile or nod.

i'll use any technique, even old and new together.]

"I myself am trying to get involved with mixed media. I fell upon your site and, well, fell in love with some of the work. It is quite amazing. I have a great interest in mixed media. How did you start? Do you find it difficult to express yourself and still get the messege out to the masses or the viewer? If you wouldn't mind telling me a bit about how you got started. Thank-you! Angela"

[Smith's response:

i started more as a poet. would glue words and phrases together back in the mid 1960s. did collage/poetry books during the early 70s. late 70s started wall pieces with found objects replacing the paper. now will do anything with anything, except i don't entirely 'do' it, it's more of a collaboration between me and the materials. titles usually come after the piece is done.

i've no trouble between self expression and reaching the masses mainly because i go my way and the masses go theirs, seemingly unaware i'm elsewhere.]

"love your poetry. It's really cool. I'm only sixteen, but poetry means allot to me. I love Shakespeare and Jim Morrison's are my favorites but I like yours allot. Susan"

"Way impressed by your art. I'm not a critic, or an intellectual arty farty... but your art is intense, its like a manifestation of my artistic visions... I know I sound like a rambling idiot but I'm a lover of your work. -Yolla"

"My name is Julia and I am doing a research paper on your poetry. I love reading poetry and your poems are very interesting. My project is to pick three themes and give some examples showing the themes. I was wondering if you had a variety of poems that focused on certain themes. I know you write about a lot of different things. I was wondering if you could give me a list of poems and maybe explain a little bit about them and what your true focus of the poem. I would appreciate the help. Thank You"

[Smith's response:

haven't looked for themes but glancing at the ones on my web site i see 4.

Marriage Proposal, Shard, Cain In Isolation, Flesh and Muse all deal with love and the difficulty of relationships in the female/male dance.

Night Fragments and Mausoleum, Museum, Movie both suggest we tend to get our values and direction from things outside ourselves such as the past, tradition, outside authority, others -- and we shouldn't. we need to get our values from within.

Wall Street and Heroin are both social criticism. we live in a harsh money/flesh/pleasure oriented culture which ignores the spritual journey.

basically i'm against authority imposed from without and i'm searching for the calm authority within.]

"I used your writings for a modern poetry presentation in a writing class and got everyone (as well as myself) really interested in your poetry. You are very real and I just wanted to tell you that your talents are appreciated and can definitely be related to. Heidi"

From: RTD001::SSmith 13-Sep-1989 10:02:06.53
Subj: rote me pome bout woodstock generation 20 yrs later

Woodstock 89

Lost degenerate's
breast whipped intention
horseradished n foreskin enfurled
now schemes
clitoral dreams
and corporate/corporal retention

Lies lie your why and my
rubber stamped existence
live like the less
don't focus, don't rest
suck teat or lick longed extention

From: SOC::Hartung 14-Sep-1989 08:26:42.97
Subj: pome

Don' unnerstan pome.
It's about you?
Reads nice.
Care to explain yourself?

From: RTD001::SSMITH 14-SEP-1989 08:49:13.08
Subj: pome

iz bout the hippie flour power woodstock generation. their sexual and idealistic innocence was seen by society as degenerate; and since they've since sold out, they've become lost degenerates. their best wished intentions were for peace and free love and there were alot of bare breasts at woodstock so i made it breast whipped. they have traded their 60's ideals for the corporate rat race, dream now of commercial and physical security. they've joined the group, lost their uniqueness, live like the rest which is less than they were. the lie they've joined by selling out makes a lie of their life. the last line means they've got to kiss ass and suck up to the boss to reach their schemes.

lost degenerate is also a sly pun upon allen ginsberg's poem "Howl" which begins "I've seen the best minds of my generation" lost, and the beat generation is also known as the lost generation.

horseradished n foreskin enfurled = innocence in oblique reference to knights in shining armor (amore?) on their horses and ready/raring/redhot to go (radished) with their ladies' scarves as banners flying enfurled (foreskin enfurled). plus horseradish is a spice and their flowerpower spice of life is now lost. at the same time, horseradished enfurled is an engorged erection, just the opposite of innocence.

rubber stamped refers to the loss of innocent sex in the 60s and our now having to wear condoms to protect against aids / and of course our existence is rubber stamped off the assembly line.

there's more of course but i write them, don't explain them.
plus in poems you can say it shorter.
and yes i guess it's about me
about what i fear i'll become
and what i fear i'm doing
and not doing
but mainly it's about all of us and our non heroic lives.

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