Rick Smith
    Rick Smith is the author of The Wren Notebook and Hard Landing. In the introduction to The Wren Notebook, Llyn Foulkes writes, “Rick Smith is one hell of a poet.  A tireless romantic, rich in the history of poetry and the blues, he casts himself in the role of wren.  Or is the wren’s role Rick?  The wandering troubadour, the reflective father, the lover, the neglected artist.  Rick tells it all. As the son of painter William A. Smith, he grew up in Pennsylvania admiring friends of his father’s like poet Carl Sandburg.  I still see Sandburg’s influence.  America dreaming, roots in the ground.  But I also see him as the underdog, sometimes proud, sometimes rebellious, and he really knows how to tell a story."

    Rick Smith’s wren is a more upbeat fellow than Ted Hughes’ crow.  He’s also more hip, more Southern California, more alive. But even so he reminds us soberly that “there is danger in everything we want.”  Moments from growing-up years merge together with far-flung historical periods and places. Rick Smith brilliantly imagines what it feels like to be a bird, and he also beautifully conveys what it is like to be a man.


From The Wren Notebook

A splash of orange
slanders a black sky
and the wren heads for cover.
The wren is a recurrent figure.
She has a beak
and she can crack small things.
She has an eye
for lateral moments.
There are facts
that blur the line
between
the garden and the natural world.
And there are crows.  They
lift off from limbs
in the orange grove out back
and under cover of that sweet air
they land like WWII bombers
inside the garden.
Inside we wait for hunger.
Outside we wait for movement.
We want what is inside to go away.
We want what is outside
to be prey.  On this morning,
fortune is with us.
The crows won’t even play
on this turf.
There is big work
And wren
has a throat
reserved for cricket
and song.
It is cricket and song
that lead her
under moonlight
over stone.


 


2010 Rick Smith
Rick was a Featured Poet who read his poetry at the October 2010 Second Sunday Poetry Series