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About Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith is the author of the national bestseller Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change (One Signal/Simon & Schuster, 2020) and four collections of poetry: Goldenrod (One Signal/Simon&Schuster, July 2021), Good Bones (Tupelo Press, 2017), The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015), and Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005). She is also the author of three three prizewinning chapbooks.
Smith's poems and essays have appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, Poetry, The Best American Poetry, The Paris Review, AGNI, Ploughshares, Image, the Washington Post, Virginia Quarterly Review, American Poetry Review, The Southern Review, and many other journals and anthologies. In 2016 her poem "Good Bones" went viral internationally; since then it has been translated into nearly a dozen languages and featured on the CBS primetime drama Madam Secretary. Smith has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She can be found online at www.maggiesmithpoet.com and on Twitter and Instagram @maggiesmithpoet.
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Featuring "Good Bones"--called "Official Poem of 2016" by the BBC/Public Radio International. Maggie Smith writes out of the experience of motherhood, inspired by watching her own children read the world like a book they've just opened, knowing nothing of the characters or plot. These are poems that stare down darkness while cultivating and sustaining possibility, poems that have a sense of moral gravitas, personal urgency, and the ability to address a larger world.
Maggie Smith's previous books are The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo, 2015), Lamp of the Body (Red Hen, 2005), and three prize-winning chapbooks: Disasterology (Dream Horse, 2016), The List of Dangers (Kent State, 2010), and Nesting Dolls (Pudding House, 2005). Her poem "Good Bones" has gone viral--tweeted and translated across the world, featured on the TV drama Madam Secretary, and called the "Official Poem of 2016" by the BBC/Public Radio International, earning news coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, Slate, the Guardian, and beyond. Maggie Smith was named the 2016 Ohio Poet of the Year.
"Smith's voice is clear and unmistakable as she unravels the universe, pulls at a loose thread and lets the whole thing tumble around us, sometimes beautiful, sometimes achingly hard. Truthful, tender, and unafraid of the dark...."--Ada Limón
"As if lost in the soft, bewitching world of fairy tale, Maggie Smith conceives and brings forth this metaphysical Baedeker, a guidebook for mother and child to lead each other into a hopeful present. Smith's poems affirm the virtues of humanity: compassion, empathy, and the ability to comfort one another when darkness falls. 'There is a light,' she tells us, 'and the light is good.'"--D. A. Powell
"Good Bones is an extraordinary book. Maggie Smith demonstrates what happens when an abundance of heart and intelligence meets the hands of a master craftsperson, reminding us again that the world, for a true poet, is blessedly inexhaustible."--Erin Belieu
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2021 BY NPR
“To read Maggie Smith is to embrace the achingly precious beauty of the present moment.” —Time
“A captivating collection from a wise, accessible poet.” —People
From the award-winning poet and bestselling author of Keep Moving and Good Bones, a stunning poetry collection that celebrates the beauty and messiness of life.
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.
As Maggie Smith navigated loss and upheaval, she wrote to herself each day—forgiving herself for a past mistake, reflecting on moments of joy, or looking towards the future, ending each note-to-self with the phrase “keep moving.”
In her own words, “I wasn’t offering wisdom from on high; I was talking to myself at the bottom of a dark well, trying to climb up into the light, little by little, day by day.” Smith was surprised not only by how uplifting this process was, but also by the outpouring of support and gratitude from thousands of people who found solace in her words.
Through the healing power of writing, Keep Moving: The Journal invites us to find beauty in the present moment, embrace change, and create a life we love.