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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.
Maggie Smith is the award-winning author of Good Bones, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, Lamp of the Body, and the national bestseller Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change. 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, The Paris Review, The Best American Poetry, and more. You can follow her on social media @MaggieSmithPoet.
Victoria Chang’s poetry books include OBIT, Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle. OBIT was named a NYT Notable Book and a TIME best book of the year. It received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the PEN Voelcker Award, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, as well as was long-listed for a National Book Award, named a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her children’s picture book, Is Mommy?, was illustrated by Marla Frazee and published by Beach Lane Books/S&S. It was named a New York Times Notable Book. Her middle grade novel, Love, Love was published by Sterling Publishing. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and a Katherine Min MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles and is the Program Chair of Antioch’s Low-Residency MFA Program.
Praise for Goldenrod:
“Maggie Smith is that rare poet who can inspire you, break your heart, and make you stop astonished at the planet around you—all in the same poem, often in the same moment. The wisdom of Goldenrod is more than hard-earned, it is a gift.”—Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic
“Goldenrod brims with fervent love for this gorgeous, wounded world. These are poems you want to rush into, poems you will return to more slowly again and again. They are like the stones she describes: together/ they dazzle with fire.”—Ellen Bass, author of Indigo
“The poems in Goldenrod alternate between gratitude and anger, bafflement and forgiveness, but more than anything else, they radiate love. To read Maggie Smith’s poetry is to realize we aren’t alone.”—Rhett Miller, Singer/Songwriter, The Old 97's
"Goldenrod is lush and intimate, full of joy and sorrow, fire and field. With wonder and poignancy, Maggie Smith navigates a reconstitution of self as she grieves what is lost. Her way of seeing is positively alchemical.”—Marcus Wicker, author of Silencer
“With keen perception Maggie Smith charts the world like a cartographer—all the greens and blues and yellows are there, but so are all the troughs and valleys, the darkest wonders. Smith holds our hands and leads us into and through all of the grief, beauty, and alchemy of the world.”—Victoria Chang, author of Obit
“The poems in Goldenrod are carried by that brave and devastating intersection of grief and gratitude. Smith’s words reach our hearts, speaking on behalf of the delicious “good dark” that breaks before the dawn.”—Tiana Clark, author of I Can't Talk About The Trees Without The Blood
“In Goldenrod Maggie Smith aptly writes, ‘America, we have taken children/ from their mothers. We have separated/ words from their meanings.’ Though no injustice escapes her attention, nor any personal hurt, Smith’s daring empathy and her knowing grasp of survival deliver us to a place where pain and beauty hold hands together in grace and transcendence.”—Barbara Ras, author of The Blues of Heaven