Messenger

Overview

"Messenger continues R. T. Smith's exploration of the threshold between story and song. Employing a disciplined and echoing free verse, Smith touches the sources of emotion without losing his poems' extraordinary composure, offering coherence and order in service of the ecstatic note." "Smith weaves the language of Catholic faith with both American and Irish rural surroundings, providing the fuel for quiet allegories."--BOOK JACKET.
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The Messenger

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Overview

"Messenger continues R. T. Smith's exploration of the threshold between story and song. Employing a disciplined and echoing free verse, Smith touches the sources of emotion without losing his poems' extraordinary composure, offering coherence and order in service of the ecstatic note." "Smith weaves the language of Catholic faith with both American and Irish rural surroundings, providing the fuel for quiet allegories."--BOOK JACKET.
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What People Are Saying

Aimee Houser
This book sustains an attractive confidence in voice and an earnestness in purpose through to the end, giving Messenger a lasting appeal.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807126745
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2001
  • Series: Dreaming in Irish Series
  • Pages: 88
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

R. T. Smith grew up in North Carolina and Georgia, now lives in Lexington, Virginia, and frequently travels to Ireland. The author of eleven poetry collections and one book of short stories, he edits the literary quarterly Shenandoah for Washington and Lee University.

LSU Press

R. T. Smith grew up in North Carolina and Georgia, now lives in Lexington, Virginia, and frequently travels to Ireland. The author of eleven poetry collections and one book of short stories, he edits the literary quarterly Shenandoah for Washington and Lee University.

LSU Press

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Table of Contents

Sourwood 3
On House Mountain 4
Hardware Sparrows 5
Jack-in-the-Pulpit 6
Raccoon in the Sun Garden 8
The Back Road Home 10
North of Spruce Pine 12
Cardinal Directions 13
Rushlight 14
Scribe 15
Ardea Herodias 16
Audubon's Cardinal 18
Azaleas (1774) 21
Madeline, Sotto Voce 24
Alphabet 29
Reading Groups 31
Messenger 32
Horse 34
Fiddle 35
Boy, Recollected 38
Manicure 39
His Mirror 40
Under the Orchard 41
Sorceress 42
Twister 43
Truant 44
Clown 45
Revival 46
H A N G M A N 47
Illumination 51
Lilting 52
Linen List 55
Bantry Boat 58
Au Claire de la Lune 59
Full Moon with Bells 61
Pileated 63
The Girls of O'Connell Street 64
Road Fever 65
In Jest 67
Rory 68
Coursing 70
At Luggala 72
Spectator 74
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2001

    'Messenger' Reveals A Cardinal Heart

    Written in a deceptively simple manner, R. T. Smith's 'Messenger' lingers in the reader's mind long after the volume is placed back on the shelf. The vivid, poignant poems in this work animate seemingly commonplace events. Smith hits a deer along 'A Back Road Home' and the reader hears the deer gasping and thrashing. Smith describes the animal as 'stalled on the thin meridian of pain.' The reader senses the deer's pain, as well as Smith's anxiety over what to do to ease the suffering. Other poems, like 'Alphabet' or 'Fiddle' allow the reader to share small, significant moments with Smith. Still others, such as 'Messenger' or 'Revival', display an almost mystical realism. Smith writes in a very straightforward manner but his poems are complex on many levels. They incorporate a reverence for the natural world along with an obvious delight in the well-turned phrase--a love of language. His characters, whether human or animal, are vividly drawn and described. 'Messenger' is a joy to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2001

    A messenger with a real message

    There is a lot of dead wood in American poetry, but there's hardly any in R. Smith's Messenger. He writes about life in the south, especially the south under the presence of Catholicism, but in his poems the outdoors resound with beauty and history comes alive. Smith's opening poem 'Sourwood' opens the question of who will be a messenger, in this case, who will tell the honey-making bees that their keeper is dead in such a way that will prevent them from dying too. The first section looks through the eyes of Bartram and J.J. Audubon and E.A. Poe, and shows us the mysteries of a world that is still glowing with newness. Section two gives an autobiography in verse, telling us how a young man comes to grips with the language of religion and the excitement of learning to read and playing the fiddle and seeing bees swarm in danger. The last part of the poem continues the story of the poet's journey Ireland, which he first opened in an earlier book, Trespasser. Although his accounts are very straitforward, his language has a subtle way of suggesting far more than it says, and the poems can be illuminating in the sense that he talks about in 'Illumination' (decorating manuscripts)and the sense of bringing light to something. The final poem describes the snow in James Joyce's Dubliners as something 'spoken softly to the world,' and that is how Smith's poems work. What they have to say is about joy and pain and the human attempt to understand them together.

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