Almanac: poems by Austin Smith

By Austin Smith

Almanac is a set of lyrical and narrative poems that commemorate, and mourn the passing of, the realm of the small kinfolk farm. yet whereas the poems are all thinking about a way with the agricultural Midwest, quite with the folk and land of the northwestern Illinois dairy farm the place Austin Smith was once born and raised, they're whatever yet in simple terms neighborhood. because the poems think about farm lifestyles, they open out to talk about adolescence and demise, the lack of culture, the destruction of the wildlife, and the severing of connections among humans and the land.

This assortment additionally displays on a protracted poetic apprenticeship. Smith's father is a poet himself, and Almanac is partially a meditation in regards to the accountability of the poet, in particular the younger poet, whilst it falls to him to talk for what's vanishing. to cite one other Illinois poet, Thomas James, Smith has tried during this booklet to jot down poems "clear because the glass of wine / on [his] father's desk each Christmas Eve." by way of turns exhilarating and disquieting, this can be a notable debut from a particular new voice in American poetry.

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Sample text

Dale’s death was small then: it was a moon-­ shaped disk of ice on some country road in Missouri half a summer and an autumn and half a winter away. How could either of you have seen it? You slept in the same bed shirtless in your blue jeans like brothers. 55 On a Greyhound Bus in America There were only a handful of us left by the time we reached Des Moines. ” and the whole bus shook with laughter. By Iowa the old woman sitting next to me, who’d had her luggage misplaced in a transfer in Omaha, had had enough.

Whether they spoke when no one was around was, of course, impossible to know. Maybe they talked then in long fugues of conversation. Maybe they told each other stories they knew the other knew already. Or maybe they just sat there in silence amidst the guns and poles, under the large-­ mouth bass and trophy bucks, the elk and the brass placard underneath it that read: Shot Somewhere In The Wilds of Manitoba, Canada. June 16th, 1967. When the door joshed its harness of bells they never turned to see who it was but just stared into the timber of poles thin as young alders until the boy gestured at the fridge behind them, or, if it was his first summer, asked where the nightcrawlers were.

You’re drunk, says the other. Maybe, he answers. He is still holding the book. In the light of the fire he can see it’s a book of letters by a poet he remembers reading in school. The letters themselves don’t interest him, it’s the feeling of the book in his hands. Riffling through it, he slams it shut the way he has slammed certain doors in order to put them between himself and what is behind them. Aren’t you going to 41 throw that one in? asks the other. This one? he says. My friend, I hate this one so much I’m going to take it back to the barracks to burn it.

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