Speculations & Changes pieces A New Acmeism Problems & Polemics Rooms & Dialogues Dark Tales canoe apostrophe combe Escape from Ilfracombe, Avoiding Devon Skin&Bones John the Explorer An Atheist's Alphabetical Approach to Death Experiments with recordings (poems)
A New Acmeism : erbacce-press
a chapbook by Sam Smith
The introduction asserts… ‘At about the same time, early 1900s, that Imagism - espoused by the likes of Hilda Doolittle, Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams - arose in the West, over in the East Acmeism was growing out of an almost identical reaction against Symbolism. Nikolai Gumilev, Anna Andreevna Akhmatova and Osip Emilyevich Mandelshtam set out to rid poetry of mysticism and Symbolism’s excessive allusiveness. Anna Akhmatova defined Acmeism as “...a return to the poetic principles of clarity, concision and the precise expression of emotional experience.” / As they sought, over a century ago, to restore ‘concreteness’ and ‘immediacy’ to poetic language so too now has come the time to slough off our latterday accretion of unnecessary verbiage and to try again….
ISBN 978-1-907878-74-9 £3.99 from the author — price (applies to UK only) includes postage: please make cheques payable to ‘Sam Smith’ 17 High Street, Maryport, CA15 6BQ )
or via PayPal -
An Atheist’s Alphabetical Approach to Death
erbacce press http://www.erbacce-press.com/
This chapbook is a result of 'An Atheist's Alphabetical Approach to Death' ending up in the final 4 (out of 1,200 entries) of the Erbacce 2009 Competition.
‘....irreverent, intelligent, provocative and unpretentious he provokes me to smile, to debate and to appreciate his stubborn honesty.... words for Smith are a functional yet beautiful vehicle, sort of Rolls Royce convertibles with ladders and bags of cement strapped across the gold-plated body work....’ Alan Corkish
ISBN 978-1-906588-51-9 £4.00
canoe: an erbacce press chapbook £4.00 http://www.erbacce-press.com/
"As a collection it links a cohesive storyline: the rain - the lure of the circus - the flood - the elephant. Each poem is a drop into waters that run deep. / An unassuming treasure. A bargain. Recommended." Carol Thistlethwaite: Carillon Magazine
(price for UK only)
John the Explorer: Gecko Press £6.00 with drawings by Shelley C Smith To view pages from this collection click here
'...told in relentless, muscular language... Sam Smith has not written an easy book, but it's unusual and one that contains some fine writing.' Michael Bangerter: NHI
'...gathers together elements of a contemplation... the protagonist... goes on a series of meanderings... all 'making strange' the everyday. The writing is complimented by line drawings by Shelley C Smith which mirror the intriguing, often disturbing, text. Although the earthy is apparent here... it is presented with such graphic dexterity that because it is so intimate its crudity is readily forgivable... Smith presents ideas and images, symbols and lyrical tropes in ways which many other contemporary poets could benefit from considering.' Niall McGrath: Poetry Quarterly Review
' Don't be put off by past encounter with Berryman, Smith is much better with his single-name character. John has to explore, taste ivy berries once, face the elements, encounter animals, encounter encounters. John is a middle-aged baby that needs to find the world... Well illustrated by Shelley C Smith.' Geoff Stevens: Purple Patch(price for UK only)
pieces : k.t.publications
'...one of the best books to have appeared in [the] UK so far this century...’ Fire #19 ‘
...a captivating exploration of love, grief, and especially hope in a prisoner of war camp... But Pieces is also about violence, and therein lies something fascinating and even beautiful ... The lines are musical, lulling ... creates an enchanted, awful place where people are dying, where we don’t want them to stop dying, so we can keep reading...’ Donna Biffar: Orbis #121
' ...The descriptive density and personal revelation of the experience give these ‘pieces’ poetic weight .... Smith has a winning style...’ The Black Mountain Review #6
'...Smith's language has an abstract and untethered feel, but his descriptions of the natural cycle of life continuing beyond and without reference to the prisoners are compellingly precise...' L. Kiew NHI Online Review '
...prose-poetry items which stand alone, or as a landscape of observations... This is a new approach; you need to read it yourself.' Geoff Stevens Purple Patch
£5.50 (price for UK only)
Speculations began as Speculations on Contemporary Art; subsections include Speculations on Uses of Text Within Other Media, perceptions of, the practising of, variously numbered, et cetera.
Changes began as Changes to Your Terms & Conditions, and changed…
'My favourite Sam Smith moments [in SPECULATIONS & CHANGES] are those when he is at his most withering: joyfully accosting other 'poets' and 'artists' for crimes of pretentiousness, vanity, facile accomplishments, false spontaneity, lack of hair (!) etc. No matter the insult, I always feel that Sam Smith's attacks are justified, as they are drawn from experiences that I recognize. The 'art world' he decries is the one we know and stomach, the one filled with creatures overflowing with pomposity and snobbery. It is a pleasure to see these poisonous creatures taken down a peg.' Charlie Baylis : Stride
ISBN 978-1-909-44384-6 £10.00
Available here - http://www.knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/speculationsandc.html
And here -
Dark Tales (£3.50) is a self-published chapbook of poems, with paintings by Shelley C Smith, the poems written to be performed at the Nunney Jazz Cafe
'....This is Stephen King in verse form....' Helena Nelson: Sphinx
'....this, of course, is precisely where poetry must take its readers — to the brink....' Patricia Prime: NHI Online Review
(price for UK only)
Skin&Bones: Odyssey Press
with illustrations by Lynn Sutterby
£6.00 (price for UK only)
"...He is a distinctive and important poet, ever sensitive to, even obsessed by, the fluidity and transience of surfaces: impressed yet shocked by the dead weight and rigidity of solid centres. His poetry evokes a cosmos structured through those elements... Sam Smith is a keen and accurate observer of the particulars of nature... The engravings, themselves made on wood, which is one of the poet's prime integuments, are not mimetic of his imagery; but are embodiments in form and design of perceptions which seem to rise from the deep subconscious; whereas the poet's images are the impress on a heightened consciousness of a close observation and appreciation of nature's structural materials. Thus, there is a true complementarity between word and art..." K V Bailey: Zene #14
"Sam Smith is a poet who uses imagery, more than other poetic techniques, to good effect and uses it... to illuminate the harsh, livid beauty of places where humanity literally scratches the earth to live. Other poems are mental landscapes of equal harshness but they are not barren of emotion. The poems are well amplified by Lyn Sutterby's woodcuts reminiscent of Eskimo and other native carvings on slivers of whalebone and wood.... These poems are mirrors in which some readers will not like the reflected truth of what we really are by instinct... Sam Smith is a much more interesting social poet than many others in this respect..." Martin Holroyd: Poetry Monthly #20
Problems & Polemics: Originally published by boho/bluechrome press, who have now unfortunately gone into receivership. The full collection of Problems & Polemics will be out of print until such time as it finds another publisher. In the meantime if anyone wants a copy I will print off a chapbook with selected poems as a One Off publication - available for £3.00 at readings. Or from here for £3.60 (includes postage - UK only)
"The big question hanging over this collection appears to be summarised in the poem 'What is Social, What Mental Illness?' and the lines are blurred with much manipulation and co-morbidity.... It's rare that I enjoy more than a third of any collection (and this goes for the "greats" as much as any other work) but I have to say that with this work, I was gripped from cover to cover, despite the uncomfortable subject matter and if you are going to invest ٥.99 in poetry this year, I would recommend that this book be the one that finds itself on your bookshelf as the price doesn't remotely reach the value of the text." Paula Brown: People's Poetry
"... brings together the threads of the psychiatric system, only to pull them apart again. Everyone is potentially vulnerable; everyone is potential victim or antagonist... These poems are full with disenchantment and irony concerning the paradox of care. And whilst Smith seems a polemicist he leaves us with no answers and no final judgement but for the evident fact that these systems are not working... I would highly recommend this compilation of poems to anyone who wants to unpick these problems as well as to those who appreciate proficiently crafted poetry." Jo Whittle: Mind Ground
Rooms & Dialogues (£7.99) Originally published by boho/bluechrome press, who have now unfortunately gone into receivership. The final copy of the boho/bluecrome edition of 'Rooms & Dialogues' was sold today, 20th December 2012. But I have printed off a Rooms chapbook which I sell at readings for £3.00, or here for £3.60 including postage, UK only.
'...As they stand, the verse sections of the various rooms convey the coherent and rewarding variety of a very visual patchwork. However, the accompanying "notes for reading" have a dynamic and entirely different effect on the reader... a lot of the "notes for reading" are amusing, underlining writers' pomposity and loss of a sense of irony... As the "dialogues" develop, they embrace an enormous range of subjects, but the continuum is a philosophical one, where Smith, in a more liquid style, explores an extraordinary wealth of ideas, with no shortage of irony... Rooms & Dialogues is a remarkable achievement, where two bold conceits are explored in an assured, accessible and expansive manner. Each "room" asks its own question; each "dialogue" nurtures its own idea. Risks are taken and rewarded. The beauty of the book is its ability to make the reader think...' Will Daunt: Envoi
click here for video of some of Sarah Ward's paintings based on the Room poems
‘For me this book is by far the best thing that Sam Smith has done. In Rooms & Dialogues he seems to have found the perfect medium for his particular mix of caring humanism and bitter observation. The Rooms poems have a concrete presence while yet being enigmatic — they have a sense of absurd ritual. Perhaps the aim is more satirical than ironic but I have a hunch that this work has almost achieved an effect in excess of its author's intention — might be wrong. If there is a problem — and this is more evident in Dialogues — it is when Sam is too direct, then the tails of the poems become little more than opinion pieces, but mostly he avoids that through a sense of formal balance. The Bluechrome house-style suited this book too, not that important perhaps but it does help to foreground the feeling of the work. Another happy accident perhaps? ‘ Tim Allen: Terrible Work
text by Sam Smith with photos by Neil Carter & Gemma Dart
"...a most attractively produced book of poems and prose... interleaved with fine and original photographs by Gemma Dart and Neil Carter... text and the photographs together successfully "...create a sense of place and time", the place being North Devon, round Ilfracombe. Those who like Clare's poetry will find much to enjoy in this high quality work." Peter Cox: The John Clare Society Newsletter #83
"...unassailable talent..." North Devon Journalrecordings of poems from 'apostrophe combe' can be accessed via the 'Response to Landscape' website -http://www.audioscapes.org/
Escape from Ilfracombe, Avoiding Devon ....is a self-published collection of poems (80xA5 pages perfect bound) in a very limited edition (15 copies), with a cover by the photographer Gemma Dart, who is still resident in Devon. (£11.00 from the author - prices include postage)
(price for UK only)
[PS this one-off production was by way of a trial run (printing, binding) for then future ad hoc Original Plus collections.]
This from my first collection 'To Be Like John Clare'
This from my second collection 'Skin&Bones'
This from 'John the Explorer'
This from 'Dialogues'
This from 'pieces'
This from 'Rooms'