Book Passage Presents
Wed., August 4, 2021 • 5:30pm PT • Online
In conversation with Matthew Caws
With her breakout bestseller Keep Moving, Maggie Smith captured the nation with her “meditations on kindness and hope” (NPR). Now, with Goldenrod, the award-winning poet returns with a powerful collection of poems that look at parenthood, solitude, love, and memory. Pulling objects from everyday life—a hallway mirror, a rock found in her son’s pocket, a field of goldenrods at the side of the road—she reveals the magic of the present moment. Only Maggie Smith could turn an autocorrect mistake into a line of poetry, musing that her phone “doesn’t observe / the high holidays, autocorrecting / shana tova to shaman tobacco, / Rosh Hashanah to rose has hands.”
Slate called Smith’s “superpower as a writer” her “ability to find the perfect concrete metaphor for inchoate human emotions and explore it with empathy and honesty.” The poems in Goldenrod celebrate the contours of daily life, explore and delight in the space between thought and experience, and remind us that we decide what is beautiful.
Maggie Smith is the award-winning author of several books of poetry including Good Bones, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, Lamp of the Body, The List of Dangers, and Nesting Dolls. A 2011 recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Smith has also received several Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, two Academy of American Poets Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has been widely published, appearing in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Tin House, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, and more.
Matthew Caws has been the lead singer/guitarist of the New York-based group Nada Surf for twenty five years. He's also one half of Minor Alps, along with Juliana Hatfield, who released their debut album Get There in 2013.
Maggie Smith photo by Devon Albeit Photography; Matthew Caws photo by Annie Dressner