Bruce Smith

b. 1946
Bruce Smith

Originally from Philadelphia, Bruce Smith is the author of several books of poems, including The Other Lover (2000), a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Influenced by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, Smith’s poetry moves like jazz, incorporating images and narratives into a startling, musically unified whole. In a 2007 interview, Smith explained his poetry’s aspiration to song: “When the language works to seduce and . . . move us, when it works its blues on us, bounces us and trembles us, makes us swerve from our upright and rational propositions . . . we are thinking and listening at the same time or really listening and not thinking, like a good song does.”

A “Discovery”/The Nation Award winner, Smith has received a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Arts. His work has appeared in Best American Poetry (2003 and 2004) and the 2009 Pushcart Prize anthology.

Smith has been a co-editor of the Graham House Review and a contributing editor of Born Magazine. He has taught at the University of Alabama and Syracuse University.

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Poet Categorization

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

LIFE SPAN 1946–

Bruce Smith

Biography

Originally from Philadelphia, Bruce Smith is the author of several books of poems, including The Other Lover (2000), a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Influenced by Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, Smith’s poetry moves like jazz, incorporating images and narratives into a startling, musically unified whole. In a 2007 interview, Smith explained his poetry’s aspiration to song: “When the language . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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