book may be obtained from your local bookstore, on-line vendors such as Amazon
or Barnes & Noble, or you may order directly from the publisher.
600 Overbrook Dr
Nicholasville, KY 40356
"Frederick Smock is a smart, sensible, and witty guide who
will lead you into the house of poetry and describe its many rooms. He
is an insider, a poet himself, and a therapist who specializes in
relieving the symptoms of poetry-phobia."
— Billy Collins
Frederick Smock is a poet-in-residence at
Bellarmine University, Louisville, where he received the Wyatt Faculty
Award in 2005. He has published three books of poetry with Larkspur
Press, with individual poems in The Iowa Review, The Southern Review,
Shenandoah, and many others. He is the recipient of the Leadingham
Poetry Prize and the Jim Wayne Miller Prize for Poetry. Mr. Smock is
married to the writer Olga-Maria Cruz.
|From the book ---
Artists evolve peculiar methods. Sometimes they
do so out of necessity. Hemingway wrote standing up, in later
life, because of a bad back. Proust, a neurasthenic, wrote lying
down in a cork-lined study. Maya Angelou locks herself away in a
hotel room in order to gain the required concentration.
Sometimes they do so out of a curious choice,
perhaps a superstition, to court the various muses. D.H. Lawrence
climbed around in mulberry trees naked—the rough bark excited
his imagination. The poet Marianne Moore lay in a coffin she kept
in her New York City apartment, staring at the ceiling, not
infrequently puffing on a thick Cuban cigar.
The German author Fredric Schiller kept a
drawer of rotting apples in his desk; whenever he felt his
inspiration flagging, he pulled open the drawer and took
a strong whiff of the emanating fumes. . . .
It is a political act to read a poem. Though I
might wish otherwise, though I might wish that a poem be only
that, a poem, I am also aware of how it creates a counter-motion—to
haste, to unfeeling and unthinking. At a poetry reading in
Westchester, New York, just days after the World Trade Center
attacks of 9/11, Stephen Dunn read only love poems. They worked as
a counterweight to the recent tragedy, in no way obscuring it, but
simply adding to the moment a voice that spoke intimately of the
beautiful. . . .
a famous incident during
the recent Balkan wars, an old man carried a chair and a cello
into the Sarajevo street known as Sniper’s Alley. He sat down,
arranged his limbs around the instrument, and began to play
Albinoni’s "Adagio in G." For the next eight minutes
or so, no shots were fired. The war came to a halt.
The old man finished the adagio and escaped
back into the city unharmed. No one shot him, or his instrument—an
instrument of peace, not war. His music had enacted a cease-fire,
however brief. . . .