Overview

A deed is a governmental conveyance, a power asserted by the written, for, as William Carlos Williams wrote to Robert Creeley: “the government can never be more than the government of the words.” The question of ownership, of the words with which we define ourselves and each other, and of whose and what claims are legitimate is much at issue in Rod Smith’s Deed, a lyric, ambitious, rebellious work thoroughly grounded in the New American tradition of poets such as John ...

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Deed

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Overview

A deed is a governmental conveyance, a power asserted by the written, for, as William Carlos Williams wrote to Robert Creeley: “the government can never be more than the government of the words.” The question of ownership, of the words with which we define ourselves and each other, and of whose and what claims are legitimate is much at issue in Rod Smith’s Deed, a lyric, ambitious, rebellious work thoroughly grounded in the New American tradition of poets such as John Ashbery, Allen Ginsberg, and Charles Olson.

At the entrance to this collection stands an abode in the form of a long poem, “The Good House,” a comfortable, at times soothingly humorous place that is also a site of conflict. In “The Spider Poems,” the mythic spider, the maker of the alphabet, is a ?gure of fun and revelation. The third section of the book presents a series of shorter poems chosen for their stylistic variety. Deed ends with a nod to two masters, as Smith turns Jack Spicer’s “Homage to Creeley” into a double homage with “Homage to Homage to Creeley.” The gesture of choosing what one brings into one’s house, what one decides to love, closes the book.

Deed is about making as bequeathing, as celebration, and as impatience for the true democracy that is always yet to arrive. There is still joy inside and out, and by giving usDeed Rod Smith has captured that joy. In so doing he tells us where we as a people, a politik, and a poetic are going.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The great thing about Rod Smith’s work is that it is all risk all the time. In Deed, he has built a substantial architecture whose ‘perilous upkeep’ is dazzling. This is a truly wondrous book.”—Peter Gizzi

 “A master poet among us? I’d vote for Rod Smith. With the sweeping vision of Whitman, the noun-play of Gertrude Stein, and the slant political commentary of the New York School, Smith chisels out a place of his own with a tremendous integrity of vision. Deed contains the best of what American poetry has to offer: a place to pause and reflect upon the beauty of language and love flowering up through the mayhem of the world.” —Lisa Jarnot, author, Black Dog Songs

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587297632
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Series: Kuhl House Poets
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 94
  • File size: 228 KB

Meet the Author

Rod Smith is the author of nine other books of poems, including Music or Honesty, Poèmes de l’Araignées, and In Memory of My Theories. His poems have appeared in many print and online journals and anthologies including the Baffler, The Gertrude Stein Awards, Java, New American Writing, Poetics Journal, and Shenandoah. He edits the journal Aerial, publishes Edge Books, and manages the independent Bridge Street Books in Washington, D.C. Smith is also editing, with Peter Baker and Kaplan Harris, The Selected Letters of Robert Creeley.
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Table of Contents

CONTENTS The Good House The Spider Poems The Given Barnes & Chernobyl Poem 1/43/97 The Given Moist Feelings: A Love Poem Identity Is the Cause of Warts Ted's Head Specifically the Luminous The Strength Floorboard Page One the love that is truly a refuge for all living beings The Narrative Quiescence XCVII ("she knows who she is") Homage to Homage to Creeley Poem for Stingers Wrong Turnstile Shadows Are Our Friend The Life of a Dime pur le CGT
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