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Simon Smith

Updated: Sep 12, 2019

2018 brought three collections of poetry from Simon Smith: Day In, Day Out (Parlor Press), The Books of Catullus (Carcanet) and Some Municipal Love Poems (Muscaliet). His third book of poems, Mercury (Salt Publications), was long-listed for the Costa Prize in 2007, and a selected poems, More Flowers Than You Could Possibly Carry, appeared from Shearsman Books in 2016. Simon Smith is Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Kent, was a Hawthornden Writing Fellow in 2009, and a judge of the National Poetry Prize in 2004. From 1991-2007 he worked as a librarian at The Poetry Library in London.




is the ghost in the narrative

the Holy Grail is one of these

& grows like a virus

like echoes

for no turning back

& real as a cup of tap water

as real as naming a form

of recollection

with the accuracy of care & grace

& what is good for the heart

of human dust

the dawn blue still night

with no incidents to report

from the first the swallows flit & chatter

force-field / constellation / star

from the first resist attention

flashback as headlights

the dark floating out there

haunted by the Real


all thinking done

as closing points

lean towards consequence

the bluer skies are now

& dreaming hard

of folded possibilities

things things things the wreckage

paying with the sentence

its currency

wrapped up in the flag

all the dead

in its recoil

& God is an it

as the present tense

adds up to simple dissent

field guide / drums / mouthings

& to forget

what to see exit

emptied as an envelope

of nothing left but to follow

hollowed away

of not quite yet

to hold back refuse the gap

or the route back

to the loved ones who only sit it out

in sorrow & loose ends

with the freedom to walk the streets

& the freedom to walk away

to wait up for the return

an exhalation an ‘ah’

the ghost is a kind of cold angel

to see what is being done with

& fits like a bent key

when there’s no more honey in the world

a full-moon tracking right

& what is good for the hurt

the personal song that breathes the flag of disobedience

lets all the air & light in


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