May 17, 2023

Rod Smith (USA) 1962

Rod Smith (USA)

Rod Smith was born in Gallipolis, Ohio in 1962 and grew up in Northern Virginia where he attended Stonewall Jackson High School. His first publication of poetry was a Ferlinghetti imitation which ap-peared in the Baltimore Sun in 1982. In the early 1980s Smith was a rural carrier for the US Postal Service in the vicinity of the Manassas Battlefield, during which time he studied Pound, Stein, Williams, Ashbery, O'Hara, Oppen, and others.
     He began the journal Aerial with Wayne Kline in 1984 and published the first Edge Book in 1989. He moved to the District of Columbia in 1987 and became part of the DC poetry community which included the writers Tina Darragh, Lynne Dreyer, P. Inman, Doug Lang, Douglas Messerli, Joan Retallack, Phyllis Rosenzweig, and others. This group expanded over the years to include such writers as Leslie Bumstead, Jean Donnelly, Buck Downs, Heather Fuller, Mark McMorris, Carol Mirakove, Tom Orange, and Mark Wallace.
     He met John Cage in Rockville, Maryland in 1987 and saw him regularly, playing chess (usually losing), in Washington and New York until Cage's death in 1992. Aerial published a selection of Cage's writing in 1991.
     The playful title of Smith's first book, In Memory of My Theories, published by O Books in 1996, unequivocally locates his work in the New American and L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry traditions. Additional full-length collections, Protective Immediacy and Music or Honesty were published by Roof in 1999 and 2003. A long poem, The Good House, was published by Spectacular Books in 2000. A selection of poems entitled Poèmes de l'araignée was published in France in 2002 by Un bureau sur l'atlantique.
     Smith managed the independent bookstore Bridge Street Books in DC, and his now teaches Cultural Studies at Towson University. Smith edited, with Kaplan Harris and Peter Baker, The Selected Letters of Robert Creeley for The University of California Press.


The Boy Poems
(Washington, D.C.: Buck Downs Books, 1994); A Grammar Manikan [Object 5, featuring Rod Smith] (New York: Object, 1995); In Memory of My Theories (Oakland, California: O Books, 1996); The Lack (love poems, targets, flags...) (Elmwood, Connecticut: Abacus, 1997); Protective Immediacy (New York: Roof, 1999); The New Mannerist Tricycle [with Lisa Jarnot and Bill Luoma] (Philadelphia: Beautiful Simmer, 2000); The Good House (New York: Spectacular Books, 2001); Poèmes de l'araignée (Bordeaux, France: Un bureau sur l'atlantique, 2003); Music or Honesty (New York: Roof Books, 2003); Fear the Sky (Narrow House, 2005); Deed (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2007); "Touche" (Wave Books, 2015)

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English

from “Protective Immediacy”

But, Dr Williams
they die miserably,

& the light goes on on the
kneeling Ave Maria no sun
shining - come -
looking wood
hold off
so that we could meet
in my bag -
close I felt
it was content
even though I still didn't
history - you can read it -
you can snow -
Bernadette cupped it in her hands
a hole filled with cured place
because & in response
I read the manuscript
thinking about the fog
glass shook &
tell everything afraid beside the fruit
of a cross town bus
to happen to
police we have strange stolen
love at the moment
to you w/ a poem some said nothing
was trembling
is like a popsicle
you can read drinking itself
to see it script
with no sharp edges
the last part always
falls off
on the damp pavement behind us
the creative process
on yr clothes

Reprinted from Cartograffiti, no. 1 (2005). Copyright ©2005 by Rod Smith.

give them retro cheese

Slave I,
of Kelly’s opinion, boxed modernist
6 bath valved cup dust/mist respirator via
the sons of gods gone down

Fortunes have sunk thee,
most psychedelic, most
laughably overdubbed keepsake
wilted in Halifax

o Halifax!
-- invariant Arg residue devolving --
We shun thy moot attempting, break
out fussin’ like craigslist newbies--
Latex, disposable, glove,

For see there the naked jonesing
of war floweres, fixt ramparts
& wolverine sexlings--our whistled
lain poetics there splain

Their &/or our ice-cherry brains
peeled like justice, like Captain Black,
rhapsodic isabooties in the playset
isle, O dissonant world!
(so) plunging & (so) pointy ~

Is Harvey Keitel longer than a piece of string cheese?

I read David Fricke's Rolling Stone piece about
Ben Franklin lying in bed naked with an electrified kite string tied to his
Harvey Keitel. What seemed like a deal at $19.95, suddenly no longer does.
My dad liked to tell the old joke about the piece of string who kept getting
a tough-guy lieutenant History Channel condoms.
If only we could objectively measure the precise amount of cheese.
If only Steve Buscemi and a handful of other great actors barbecued together.


As anyone who has flown out of a cloud knows,
you are always on the other side of the equation.

For example, If you go poop as soon
as you feel the urge then usually it isn't as stinky.

It's customer service. Say you've come to a company
With questions only to be told by some sterile voice

To press this or click that until you arrive full circle
To your starting place with no help at all, and you still

Have to poop. Then you simply _must_ remember that
Whoever sheds the blood of a human,

By a human shall that person’s blood be shed;
For in his own image

God made mankind. When he was on hold.
When he had to poop.

for Ara Shirinyan

Washington, DC is a city that routinely appears in the news week after week.

The westernmost point of the Great Inverted Pentagram
of Washington DC is George Washington Circle Park.
My family and I recently visited your amazing city for the first time,
and may I say it was a great experience.

DC is a great city full of history and culture
that becomes home to a large number of UVA alumni.

If you are looking for great cheap eats, then Washington DC is a great
place to be.

Bike tours are a great way to explore D.C. There
are also many pharmacy jobs in Washington, DC.

We've got great tickets to all kinds of musicals and plays this year.
Visit the neighborhood surrounding Georgetown University for great
shopping from designer boutiques.

I love Washington, DC and it thrills me that this type of Washington,
DC is available.


A great nation deserves the truth.

Washington DC is a wonderful place to be in the Summer and you can find
an enormous amount of great deals throughout the city.

It's almost worth not getting blind drunk on Friday nights so you can be
up early enough to hit the Arlington Farmer's Market on Saturday.

My son and I had never been to Washington DC. We took your tour
this past weekend and it was a great!

Once upon a time in Washington, DC, there gathered over two hundred
Aggies, desperate for some good food.

Washington, DC is a great furnished place with lots of malls.

Washington DC. WOW!

Very well done, I can see you had a fantastic trip in America!
It was on Rachel Ray $40 a Day show.

Great Washington D.C. restaurants, great shopping and a contemporary
mix of American people can be found strolling the city streets of an area.

You Can Even Take a Woman to on a Date in Washington DC.

Another great new option that Dish TV Washington Navy Yard Washington
DC provides for its subscribers is portable programming through its
new PocketDish.

DC is great and way too much to see there for just one.

The home page of James Trotta's site for vacation/trip itineraries features some
great ideas for a trip to Washington DC. Uncork the Wine, Uncork the
Flavor, Uncork the Fun.

Great Wraps & Cheesesteaks, Union Station, Washington, DC - poor
customer service experience.

Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia: Great Destinations.


Operations - 100 words

come, get, give, go, keep, let, make, put, seem, take, be, do, have,
say, see, send, may, will, about, across, after, against, among, at,
before, between, by, down, from, in, off, on, over, through, to,
under, up, with, as, for, of, till, than, a, the, all, any, every, no,
other, some, such, that, this, I, he, you, who, and, because, but, or,
if, though, while, how, when, where, why, again, ever, far, forward,
here, near, now, out, still, then, there, together, well, almost,
enough, even, little, much, not, only, quite, so, very, tomorrow,
yesterday, north, south, east, west, please, yes.

Things - 400 general words


account, act, addition, adjustment, advertisement, agreement, air,
amount, amusement, animal, answer, apparatus, approval, argument, art,
attack, attempt, attention, attraction, authority, back, balance,
base, behaviour, belief, birth, bit, bite, blood, blow, body, brass,
bread, breath, brother, building, burn, burst, business, butter,
canvas, care, cause, chalk, chance, change, cloth, coal, colour,
comfort, committee, company, comparison, competition, condition,
connection, control, cook, copper, copy, cork, cotton, cough, country,
cover, crack, credit, crime, crush, cry, current, curve, damage,
danger, daughter, day, death, debt, decision, degree, design, desire,
destruction, detail, development, digestion, direction, discovery,
discussion, disease, disgust, distance, distribution, division, doubt,
drink, driving, dust, earth, edge, education, effect, end, error,
event, example, exchange, existence, expansion, experience, expert,
fact, fall, family, father, fear, feeling, fiction, field, fight,
fire, flame, flight, flower, fold, food, force, form, friend, front,


glass, gold, government, grain, grass, grip, group, growth, guide,
harbour, harmony, hate, hearing, heat, help, history, hole, hope,
hour, humour, ice, idea, impulse, increase, industry, ink, insect,
instrument, insurance, interest, invention, iron, jelly, join,
journey, judge, jump, kick, kiss, knowledge, land, language, laugh,
law, lead, learning, leather, letter, level, lift, light, limit,
linen, liquid, list, look, loss, love, machine, man, manager, mark,
market, mass, meal, measure, meat, meeting, memory, metal, middle,
milk, mind, mine, minute, mist, money, month, morning, mother, motion,
mountain, move, music, name, nation, need, news, night, noise, note,
number, observation, offer, oil, operation, opinion, order,
organization, ornament, owner


page, pain, paint, paper, part, paste, payment, peace, person, place,
plant, play, pleasure, point, poison, polish, porter, position,
powder, power, price, print, process, produce, profit, property,
prose, protest, pull, punishment, purpose, push, quality, question,
rain, range, rate, ray, reaction, reading, reason, record, regret,
relation, religion, representative, request, respect, rest, reward,
rhythm, rice, river, road, roll, room, rub, rule, run, salt, sand,
scale, science, sea, seat, secretary, selection, self, sense, servant,
sex, shade, shake, shame, shock, side, sign, silk, silver, sister,
size, sky, sleep, slip, slope, smash, smell, smile, smoke, sneeze,
snow, soap, society, son, song, sort, sound, soup, space, stage,
start, statement, steam, steel, step, stitch, stone, stop, story,
stretch, structure, substance, sugar, suggestion, summer, support,
surprise, swim, system, talk, taste, tax, teaching, tendency, test,
theory, thing, thought, thunder, time, tin, top, touch, trade,
transport, trick, trouble, turn, twist, unit, use, value, verse,
vessel, view, voice, walk, war, wash, waste, water, wave, wax, way,
weather, week, weight, wind, wine, winter, woman, wood, wool, word,
work, wound, writing, year.

Things - 200 picturable words

angle, ant, apple, arch, arm, army, baby, bag, ball, band, basin,
basket, bath, bed, bee, bell, berry, bird, blade, board, boat, bone,
book, boot, bottle, box, boy, brain, brake, branch, brick, bridge,
brush, bucket, bulb, button, cake, camera, card, cart, carriage, cat,
chain, cheese, chest, chin, church, circle, clock, cloud, coat,
collar, comb, cord, cow, cup, curtain, cushion, dog, door, drain,
drawer, dress, drop, ear, egg, engine, eye, face, farm, feather,
finger, fish, flag, floor, fly, foot, fork, fowl, frame, garden, girl,
glove, goat, gun, hair, hammer, hand, hat, head, heart, hook, horn,
horse, hospital, house, island, jewel, kettle, key, knee, knife, knot,
leaf, leg, library, line, lip, lock, map, match, monkey, moon, mouth,
muscle, nail, neck, needle, nerve, net, nose, nut, office, orange,
oven, parcel, pen, pencil, picture, pig, pin, pipe, plane, plate,
plough, pocket, pot, potato, prison, pump, rail, rat, receipt, ring,
rod, roof, root, sail, school, scissors, screw, seed, sheep, shelf,
ship, shirt, shoe, skin, skirt, snake, sock, spade, sponge, spoon,
spring, square, stamp, star, station, stem, stick, stocking, stomach,
store, street, sun, table, tail, thread, throat, thumb, ticket, toe,
tongue, tooth, town, train, tray, tree, trousers, umbrella, wall,
watch, wheel, whip, whistle, window, wing, wire, worm.

Qualities - 100 descriptive words

able, acid, angry, automatic, beautiful, black, boiling, bright,
broken, brown, cheap, chemical, chief, clean, clear, common, complex,
conscious, cut, deep, dependent, early, elastic, electric, equal, fat,
fertile, first, fixed, flat, free, frequent, full, general, good,
great, grey, hanging, happy, hard, healthy, high, hollow, important,
kind, like, living, long, male, married, material, medical, military,
natural, necessary, new, normal, open, parallel, past, physical,
political, poor, possible, present, private, probable, quick, quiet,
ready, red, regular, responsible, right, round, same, second,
separate, serious, sharp, smooth, sticky, stiff, straight, strong,
sudden, sweet, tall, thick, tight, tired, true, violent, waiting,
warm, wet, wide, wise, yellow, young.

Qualities - 50 opposites

awake, bad, bent, bitter, blue, certain, cold, complete, cruel, dark,
dead, dear, delicate, different, dirty, dry, false, feeble, female,
foolish, future, green, ill, last, late, left, loose, loud, low,
mixed, narrow, old, opposite, public, rough, sad, safe, secret, short,
shut, simple, slow, small, soft, solid, special, strange, thin, white,

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