Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Jared R.W. Smith  

Pen Name: Jared Smith

Genre: Poetry

Born: 1950 in Cleveland, Ohio

-- Website --
-- Jared R.W. Smith on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Smith lives in Lisle, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Jared Smith's poems, essays, and literary criticism have appeared hundreds of times in literary journals over the past 30 years. These include Spoon River Quarterly, Poet Lore, The Kenyon Review, Rhino, The New York Quarterly, Pulpsmith, Greenfield Review, Coe Review, Fine Madness, The Pedestal, Bitterroot, and many many others. His poetry has been adapted to modern dance at New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and to stage in Naperville. Jared reads frequently throughout the Chicagoland area, and has given featured readings at both Chicago and suburban library branches, as well as at Ridgefield School, where he was featured the week after Kevin Stein appeared. He is past president of Poets & Patrons, a member of The Chicago Poets' Club, and a member of the Illinois State Poetry Society. Jared is also Poetry Editor of Trail & Timberline (the official journal of the Colorado Mountain Club) and Managing Editor of The New York Quarterly.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Dark Wing: Book Two of Song of the Blood
ISBN: 0930975006

Charred Norton Publishing Company. 0

Walking the Perimeters of the Plate Glass Factory
ISBN: 0913559660

Birch Brook Pr. 2001

Eloquent, engaging, sometimes unsettling poetic examination of the changes that time imposes on our personal as well as national histories.

Where Images Become Imbued With Time
ISBN: 0972433961

The Puddin'head Press. 2007

Lake Michigan And Other Poems
ISBN: 0972433945

Puddin'head Press. 2005

A new book of poetry by a well known master of modern poetry. Contains the major poem "Lake Michigan." A careful, thoughtful collection of poetry.

The Graves Grow Bigger Between Generations
ISBN: 0977655687

Higganum Hill Books. 2008

Martin Mitchell, reviewer, in Home Planet News, Issue 61 (Vol.16, No.2) THE GRAVES GROW BIGGER BETWEEN GENERATIONS By Jared Smith Higganum Hill Books, P.O. Box 666, Higganum, CT 06441, 2008, 68 pp., $12.95. Before I heard him read a couple of months ago at the Cornelia Street Café in New York City, I was somehow unfamiliar with the work of Jared Smith, although his poems have appeared in these pages. Anyhow, I was, as they say, bowled over, and I could hardly wait to buy a copy of his new book − this one − after the reading and to dig into it and spend time with it. What a pleasure it was to do so. I was not disappointed, although it has helped me in reading this remarkable collection to imagine Smith’s strong, insistent, ironic voice. That’s “strong” in the sense of ambitious and bold. At the reading I was reminded of Whitman − Smith’s poems have a kind of all-embracing expansiveness that is (albeit lost sight of in recent decades) essentially American − though someone (specifically Diana Hume George, quoted on the back of the book) has already noted that instead I’d cite, for comparison, Philip Levine were I not occasionally mistrustful of that poet’s believability as a mouthpiece for the masses. Smith sympathizes with workingmen’s plight without pandering that’s the only reason why he (otherwise inexcusably) looks back to the world of an exclusively male workforce. The title poem well illustrates this extraordinary quality (as does that amazing title!), but its thoughts are complex and its considerable length sustains its accumulating power, making it resistant to quotation. Much the same goes for the poem that directly precedes it, “Evening, Yes, but a Man Is Still a Man” (the initial caps on all title words throughout the volume are needlessly distracting), possibly, concise as well as powerful, the best poem in the book. Four lines at the end of its second stanza (of three) have more content and suggestion than a whole slew of almost anyone else’s poems: Call him a tradesman, and he will trade every iron worker for one closed out steel mill and a teenage soldier. Tell him he is a product of the Rust Belt and the infrastructure of every city will come uncoupled. How mightily true that is (even if I can’t fully identify “him”) in the equal universe the author constructs to shed light on our own! Smith never takes on more than he can chew: his huge appetite is matched by his articulate mastication. This is so even when he “narrows” his sights − as in “Life at the Margins,” wherein “the flaming sumac / lifts its light torch, turning scar red // wounds that will not heal, this sifter of // pollutants that know the why of human waste … . I have come to love this mark of our imprudence // as I love the cat tails that also mark our transgressions.” Critical comment here: wow!!! How deeply the author plumbs into nature and humanity to show us much about both. Likewise in the next poem, with its modest title, “Of Little Things That Carry Weight”: It takes an ant to care for the community[.] … It behooves one to fear [the ant] because the weight of the very small when combined is greater than all the men who ever lived in all the lands numbered in our books. The farts termites give off in shuffling about their tasks each day give off more methane than mankind’s industry. I’m glad myself to think of little things that carry weight. Not because they justify our own irresponsible treatment of the planet but because we can find in them a necessary perspective. Several small poems, too, pack quite a punch. I will leave the six-line “What I Take to My Grave” for you to discover and will quote instead the whole of “Coping with Technology”: I alternate wallpapers on my computer screen, letting my eyes follow the thought, going from the constellation Andromeda in a sea of black to the wattled orange face of a newly discovered bird in Indonesia, a



Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: Yes, contact author.