Jump Soul: New and Selected Poems

Jump Soul: New and Selected Poems

by Charlie Smith


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A stunning collection from a poet who “writes with a scalding aortal brilliance that leaves the reader drunk on dream” (New York Times Book Review).

Selecting from among Charlie Smith’s seven previous collections and including more than forty astonishing new poems, Jump Soul represents work from the career of a poet who “writes with a scalding aortal brilliance that leaves the reader drunk on dream” (New York Times Book Review). From the lush Southern landscapes of Red Roads (1987) and the haunted longing of Heroin (2000) to the bold eroticism of Women of America (2004) and, most recently, the fresh and exuberant Word Comix (2009), Smith reminds us “that we don’t really know what beauty is until we’ve looked hard at the horror that throws beauty into bright relief” (David Kirby, New York Times). Beauty in Smith’s poetry is mixed with harrowing darkness; it is “the rescued returned to the floods / and fruit pickers, those who catch beauty / aflight on the sweet-smelling breeze, authentic characters / messed up, dead on the floor / of western motels, crapped out jinxed, lost / to the boulevards.” Smith is a poet of “shimmering energy” (Mary Oliver). His work, brutal in its honesty and stunning in its lyricism, is represented in all of its extraordinary range in this new collection.

From “Collected First Lines”

I’m sure there is meaning,

and I know it’s sometimes more interesting

to stand in a road than to move along it,

though even this, said with such confidence

just a minute ago,

explains nothing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393240221
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 03/24/2014
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Charlie Smith is the author of eight previous poetry collections, eight novels, and a book of novellas. He has won the Aga Khan Prize, the Levinson Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. His first book, Red Roads, was chosen for the National Poetry Series and received the Great Lakes New Poets Award. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, Harper’s, New Republic, Nation, the New York Times, and elsewhere. Three of his novels have been named New York Times Notable Books. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Godzilla Street: New Poems

1 Jane Street

Jump Soul 3

Better Than Heaven 4

Ports of Call 6

Who Knows If That Would Work 7

If Anything Can 8

Gain 9

Monsters 10

Why We're Here 11

In the Guest Room 12

Shakespeare in the Villages 13

As Ever As Ever 14

Crossing Washington Square at Dawn 15

Life on Earth 17

Blue Pills 18

The Plot Is the One Thing We Know 19

Collected First Lines 21

Just a Note 23

On Down 24

2 House Trailer in a Field

Little Georgias 25

Used to Be More One-Eyed Men 26

It Gets a Little Hazy 28

Green Life Where It Goes 30

Night Squishes the Sun Out Along the Treeline 32

Before We Get There 33

Turpentine 34

The River 35

Whom Mothers Steer Their Children From 36

October Memorial 38

This Before That 39

Spell 40

Thoughts Like a Series of Night Departures 41

Red Cotton 42

Fresh Rolls on Sunday 43

3 East Washerwoman Shoal

Delirious 45

Originality (1) 46

Originality (2) 47

Taps in Key West 48

Supposition 49

Rummage 50

Don Diego de la Vega on Block Patrol 51

What's Essential 52

Water in the Lungs 54

Bus to Tuxtla 55

Dengue 56

As If You Were 57

Offhand 59

Selected Poems

from Red Roads

Dr. Auchincloss Bids Good-bye to His Wife 63

Liar 65

from Indistinguishable from the Darkness

Aquarium 67

Fortune 69

Transformation to White 71

Kohaku 74

Cycles 76

Now I Smack My Head 77

The Meaning of Birds 78

Respite 80

from The Palms

This Holy Enterprise 81

The Woman as Figure 82

The Palms 83

Omnipotence 84

Redneck Riviera 85

Mother at Eighty 86

The Rose 87

from Before and After

The Sentinel 89

Defiance 90

Ruffians 91

The Business 92

The Essential Story 93

Conceit 94

There Is No Railroad Named Delight 95

Anticipation 96

The Miniature City 97

from Heroin and Other Poems

Real Time 99

Louisiana Purchase 100

The World as Will and Representation 101

Straight 104

Los Dos Rancheros 105

Honesty 106

Family Burial 110

Beds 111

Calling for Clare 114

As for Trees 116

The Trail 120

Indians Driving Pickup Trucks 122

I Try to Remember I Am Dying 124

Kicking 125

Zen Do 127

Heroin II 128

Moon, Moon 129

Dreams 132

The Submerged Fields 134

Visitation 135

Washington Square 136

Bontemps 138

Santa Monica 140

The Waters of the Deep 141

East End 144

At This Hour 145

from Women of America

Eastern Forests 147

There's Trouble Everywhere 148

What This Stands For 150

Women of America 151

Monkeys in White Satin 152

Recall 153

In July 154

Shame 155

Compared to What 156

Modern Art 160

Late Days

1 Outside Las Vegas 161

Pursued by Love's Demons 163

Solitude 164

Old Business 165

Talking to Whom 166

Each Night I Enter a Terrible Silence 167

Call Girls 168

The Night Won't Stop It 170

Creation Rites 171

A Selection Process 172

Excursion 173

Religious Art 174

Arrangements 175

Sprung 176

Dusk at Homer's 177

Day 7/24 179

The Moment Preceding 180

Old Nobodies Traveling Alone 181

The Wilderness 183

Dusk, Like the Messiah 186

from Word Comix

I Speak to Fewer People 187

Evasive Action 188

Abuses in the Big Hotels 189

One Lie After Another 190

Evergreens 191

The Paris of Stories 192

Hollyhocks 193

Like Odysseus, Like Achilles 196

Little Swan Songs Being Sung All Down the Block 197

Illustrated Guide to Familiar American Trees 198

An Orange Light in the Windows 199

Arthritis 200

Out of the Way Bungalow-Style Areas 201

As It Happened 202

Summer in the Subtropics 203

Lariats 204

Oh Yeah 205

About This Far 206

Meaty Chunks 207

Leaves in the Subway 208

Extremadura 210

Chalk Pictures 211

Pied Noir 212

The Greeks 214

The Fall Schedule 216

The Adepts 217

Unburnt Offerings 220

Clean 221

Compensation 223

Index of Titles and First Lines 225

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