Maggie Smith

(photo by Studio127 Photography)

Born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1977, Maggie Smith is the author of The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, April 2015), winner of the 2012 Dorset Prize, selected by Kimiko Hahn; Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award; and three prizewinning chapbooks, Disasterology (Dream Horse Press, forthcoming), The List of Dangers (Kent State University Press, 2010), and Nesting Dolls (Pudding House, 2005).

Smith’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Paris Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, The Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, and many other journals. Her work has also been included in anthologies such as From the Other World: Poems in Memory of James Wright, The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror 2008, and Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days.

Smith holds a BA from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MFA from The Ohio State University. She has taught creative writing as the Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettysburg College and has blogged for The Kenyon Review. A 2011 recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Smith has also received four Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, two Academy of American Poets Prizes, and fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. She lives with her husband and two children in Bexley, Ohio, where she works as a freelance writer and editor.


Wren Songs (from The List of Dangers)

It’s an installation: Wrens pinned like brooches
to the trees, singing, their eyes glass beads.

Shake a branch, be wary of what falls.

In the unofficial spring, sunshine plays xylophone
on the lawn. The trebly notes are mouths

singing oh, oh, oh. A paper boat leads

the children downstream, through countless
shades of green—spring, grass, moss, forest.

Read the full poem


Praise for Lamp of the Body

Lamp of the BodyIn 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

Learn more about Lamp of the Body


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