Press for The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison


The Kenyon Review

“These poems acknowledge that the well may be poisoned, but it is a deep well, and it has given itself the power of speech. It can warn us. In that warning, given freely to “Babes in the Wood,”—all of us children who will be lost to darkness and death, Smith unearths the deepest moral from these tales: that we can face the truth (“The trees turned dark and took me with them”), speak it to one another, and through some mystical, magical, enchanted gift, still survive.” Read more

The Rumpus

“Maggie Smith’s second full-length collection is a both a warning and an enchantment….These poems are studded with images we recognize from fairytales, offering iconic color in the forest gloom: wolves, foxes, deer, skinned rabbits, apples, hearts, white bones. Through Smith’s imaginative leaps, a kind of sorcery occurs, the lines shape-shifting quickly and musically.” Read more

Heavy Feather Review

“…if you offer Smith sunshine, the light then “plays xylophone / on the lawn.” Give her sparrows, and you have “tiny machines” printing messages on the air. The world around conforms to her limitless imagination.” Read more

Connotation Press

“Smith establishes a clear dichotomy, playing these two sets of poems against one another until they become two wholly separate worlds. And yet the barrier between the two worlds is not impenetrable….Even in the world of mailboxes and cul-de-sacs, danger still exists.” Read more



Kenyon Review Podcast

On the November Kenyon Review Podcast, Maggie Smith and fellow Kenyon Review consulting editor Andrew Grace discuss The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison along with balancing parenting with the writing life, the ins and outs of the poetry manuscript consultation business, and book-prize culture.

Tupelo Quarterly

“The realism, the visceral truthfulness I’ve been ruminating on in these questions—this all sounds very heavy and dark. And while in some moments the work is (welcome to life), the overall experience of the book is for me quite the opposite: because it is truthful, it effects catharsis, it anneals, it gives relief and light. The final experience of it is deeply kind as lies cannot ever be.” Read more


The Writer’s Chronicle

“SPD is the only nonprofit book distributor of its kind—in operation since 1969—that has enabled significant sales of buzzed about books such as…The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison by Maggie Smith (Tupelo Press, 2015).”  Read more