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Messenger: Poems (Dreaming in Irish trilogy) Hardcover – February 1, 2001
In "Messenger," Smith reports that, when he "was not yet ten," an angel told him, "'You must say your life to save it.'" These vivid, musical poems demonstrate that he took the message to heart. He doesn't, however, say so much as sing. Sonorous assonances and chiming alliterations make Smith's work much more rhythmical and, hence, memorable than its quasi-free-verse appearance portends. "Savor of Moss," the first of the book's three sections, contains mostly reflections about nature, especially how utterly universal it is, resistant to the transcendental bullying of the likes of "Father Mike / hot with the Gospel." "Human Salt" includes "Messenger" among other personal memories rife with natural and transcendental conflicts and collaborations. The poems in "Spectator," fostered by a heritage-seeking sojourn in Ireland, prove less compelling because the Yank in Ireland has become such a stock situation that it's hard not to hear Enja or the Chieftains cranking away on the mind's soundtrack as you read them. Ray Olson
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About 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.
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