Bear Lite Inn (excerpt)

Abraham Smith

nothing morebeautifulthan the nulledvetch moonthan the litmarlboro redthrown fromthe vehicle nothingmaybe the nineteen year nunat the county fairher one green eyesty free pans west throughthe nodding balloonsgrey squirrelssure to circle the smoldercan't do anythingcrow birds mistake itfor broken rabbitgrow meanerturntable vinyl shattersuffragette ceruleanthe moonthe hurled ballhurled by a manpregnant with beermisses everythingwhat's thematter iswe flew

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Abraham Smith is the author of numerous poetry collections—most recently, the chapbook Bear Lite Inn (New Michigan Press, 2020), the full-length Destruction of Man (Third Man Books, 2018), and the forthcoming Dear Weirdo (Propeller Books, 2021). Away from his desk, he improvises poems inside songs with the Snarlin’ Yarns; their debut record Break Your Heart was released on Dial Back Sound in Fall 2020: thesnarlinyarnsut.bandcamp.com. He lives in Ogden, Utah, where he is associate professor of English and co-director of Creative Writing at Weber State.

"In Abraham Smith's wild and gorgeous book, we begin with the image of a doe 'hung from a backhoe,' there like an opening piece of punctuation in a song about rural Wisconsin (the town of Ladysmith, I have it on authority). Weaving scraps of memory, voices heard and overheard, with precise observation of the phenomenal world, Bear Lite Inn sings beauty back into a part of the world that art and literature have largely ignored. Smith has distilled a place--its language, concerns, flora, fauna, cultures and rituals--into
poems that are half art song, and half magic spell."
—Mark Wunderlich

"There is some sort of backwoods rustic buddha at the heart of Abraham Smith. Smith's poems exercise an almost mystical faith in the sounds of words and in the accretive spiritual and semantic energy of phonetic accidents. They are equally obsessed with accidents of human nature, and read at times like police blotters set to Bach, the cauterizing bird's-eye view at which the catalog of human folly and violence mercifully refracts into folklore."
—Ashley Capps

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