Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith (Poetry) | Bexley, OH

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Columbus native Maggie Smith is the author of The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press 2015), selected by Kimono Hahn as the winner of the Dorset Prize; Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press 2005), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award; and three prizewinning chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review Online, and elsewhere. A 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, Smith has also received fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is a Contributing Editor to the Kenyon Review and a Visiting Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at The Ohio State University. She lives in Bexley, Ohio, with her husband and their two children.


The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015)
The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015)
Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005). Benjamin Saltman Prize
Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005). Benjamin Saltman Prize


Disasterology (Dream Horse Press, 2016)
Disasterology (Dream Horse Press, 2016)
The List of Dangers (Kent State University Press/Wick Poetry Series 2010)
The List of Dangers (Kent State University Press/Wick Poetry Series 2010)
Nesting Dolls (Pudding House, 2005)

Press & Reviews

“Enchantment: that rarest of all poetic gifts. As when the neurons, in the kaleidoscopic movie they call a ‘functional MRI,’ speak to us in colors on a screen from the deepest recesses of what we already know. Maggie Smith’s are poems of transformation: haunting, gorgeous, intimately unsettling. I cannot remember when I last read a book to match her powers of delight.”
—Linda Gregerson

“Some kind of primary mythic world lies behind and throughout these adult tales of ultimate matters. Maggie Smith’s skill at bringing archetypes into her own individual stories is both seamless and transforming. The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison is as much about the terrible and beautiful dreams of children as it is about waking up as a parent. This is a rare book of poems.”
—Stanley Plumly

“The images are so fresh and inventive they shimmer. Original, cautionary, rich, delicious, The Well Speaks…is a spellbinding collection.”
—Amy Gerstler

“Here in Maggie Smith’s first book we encounter a voice that is spare, confident, and precise. Her images click into place, and the movement of each poem is deft, muscular, taut. These are poems we trust, poems that ask hard questions while at the same time convincing us of the magic in the world….I admire the courage and the control, the gorgeous turns, the leaps she takes in the poems while keeping the center of each poem intact….This is a book that delights, intrigues, and instructs. A wonderful debut.”
—Carol Potter

“Vivid and surprising language? Check. Sly yet taut rhythm? Check. Serious engagement with serious issues? Check. Maggie Smith’s poems have the traits we look for in a good poet. But for Smith those virtues are where she begins, not where she ends. Smith’s intelligence shines in every word, every rhythmic pulse, every engagement of this masterly first book. In ‘The Poem Speaks to Desperation,’ Smith offers a compelling ars poetica: ‘I inhabit you, a nest of bees / in your mouth. You cannot / swallow without waking them…. / I have the last word. / On the tip of a tongue, / suddenly, I am what swarms.’ It’s a big claim. The poems live up to it. Check.”
—Andrew Hudgins

“In Lamp of the Body, Maggie Smith illuminates nothing less than the opportunities for and the possibilities of poetic utterance. Her themes—landscape, loss, and western myth—are richly classic; her language, sensuous and elegant. Primitive and visionary, exacting and unrestrained, these poems are in possession of a good strangeness, an awful nostalgia that irrevocably transforms the now.”
—Kathy Fagan

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