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,