- Kind: Perfectbound
- Pages: 90
- Language: English
- Date Published: May, 2018
- ISBN: 978-1-948017-10-7
Mike Smith’s Pocket Guide to Another Earth is packed with poems so finely wrought that it’s hard to pull away. Every line feels irrefutable, charged, electric, wise. There is such intimacy, between the poet and those lost and those still living near. And America, too, mined here for its gorgeousness and grit, comes alive in the hands of Smith’s brilliance. Truly, I’ve read few contemporary poets as keenly aware of what’s at stake, where the heart is, what the moment can offer us. —Christopher Salerno
Pocket Guide to Another Earth is immersive and transporting, darkly funny and deeply moving. These poems are imbued with the stillness and steeliness of grief, but also with its deep tenderness, and scoring every poem is a clear-eyed recognition that this world, with its wreckage and wonder, is very much where we are. Mike Smith is the tour guide we need for any earth, but especially our own. —Catherine Pierce
Pocket Guide to Another Earth
There is a plant found there whose sprouted seeds,
if swallowed whole, will grow back out of you
until leaves clothe the body entirely.
(The plant’s deciduous, but weather there
is all internal anyway.) Because
weather is all internal anyway,
it takes thirteen willing adults to pro-
create. Argument is a fossil fuel;
the children learn to speak by forgetting
to eat. Although they do not trust in land
or sea, the people no longer use their wings
to fly. Instead, they rub them together
at dusk and dawn. The chirping signals fear
and a willingness to die. It is, by far,
the preferred method of self-expression.
Warning: Their gods visit often, bearing
gifts, which, if swallowed, grow back out of you.
Like us, there is nothing they will not do.
Mike Smith has published three other collections of poetry, including Byron and Baghdad and Multiverse from BlazeVox. His translation of the first part of Goethe’s Faust was published by Shearsman Books, and he is co-editor of the anthology, Contemporary Chinese Short-Short Stories: A Parallel Text, published by Columbia University Press. His memoir, And There Was Evening and There Was Morning appeared from WTAW Press in 2017. He lives with his family of seven deep in the Mississippi Delta.