A companion volume to his previous collection Trespasser and the second book of the trilogy “Dreaming in Irish,” 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.
Binding the lyric to narrative, these poems move almost imperceptibly from delicate descriptions of the poet’s native southern landscape to memories of a tender boyhood amid Scots-Irish relatives to the customs and politics of contemporary Ireland. They invoke Audubon, Bartram, Dickey, Poe, and Joyce to pursue the mythic patterns behind everyday circumstances and the joyful possibilities in work, music, and family life.
Smith weaves the language of Catholic faith with both American and Irish rural surroundings, providing the fuel for quiet allegories. He listens and observes, and seeks to bridge the chasm between his world and his words, exercising what he calls
a desire old as cave paintings,
the wish to entice some wild thing and make beauty local,
to bring something graceful
close to the language of home.
About the Author
R. T. Smith grew up in North Carolina and Georgia, now lives in Rockbridge County, Virginia, and frequently travels to Ireland. The author of eleven poetry collectionsincluding Trespasser and Split the Larkand one book of short stories, he edits the literary quarterly Shenandoah for Washington and Lee University.
What People are Saying About This
This book sustains an attractive confidence in voice and an earnestness in purpose through to the end, giving Messenger a lasting appeal.