Powerful forces at work in this poetry, a collection of mature reflection and intense epiphany, wherein we learn that we exist within a cauldron that we cannot name, amid forces beyond the ken of seismologists and those who would map the cosmos. Are our hearts no more or less than what pulls upon them? Is experience a phenomenon we are ill equipped to measure, except through poetry? Who attempts to answer such questions as these, except a poet of Jared Smith's measure?
This magnificent volume of poetry-as-witness lifts up and dignifies the life we hold in common, illuminating that which is largely hidden within both the personal impulses and impersonal systems that drive and constrain us. The propulsive, elevating, and varied poems build upon each other toward an epic revelation of how our pride and dependence on technological growth blinds us with its short term gains. The resulting vision is one of dark and churning machinery within which everything is connected, the world becoming a vast fabric woven of passions and failures, of lights and shadows, exploration and exploitation leading to war and pandemic. There is individual freedom and survival to be found, but it is in finding the light within each individual's hard-won experience and compassion and understanding of the spheres we are a part of.
”Powerful forces at work in this poetry, a collection of mature reflection and intense epiphany, wherein we learn that we exist within a cauldron that we cannot name, amid forces beyond the ken of seismologists and those who would map the cosmos. Are our hearts no more or less than what pulls upon them? Is experience a phenomenon we are ill equipped to measure, except through poetry? Who attempts to answer such questions as these, except a poet of Jared Smith's measure?”—George Wallace, Writer in Residence, Walt Whitman Birthplace
”From the first poem to the last, Jared Smith inscribes a personal testament of a life lived in the fires and ice of history. Taken as a whole, it is an extended elegy for America that begins in the blood and smoke of Kent State and ends in the bosom of our battered earth. [. . .] The poems build, one upon another, toward an epic revelation of how man's pride in his technical achievements blinds it to the consequences of its short-term gains. As such the "spheres" in this book become visionary crystal balls through which unexpected consequences take shape on the whiteboard of one man's global awareness.”—Bill Tremblay, Walks Along the Ditch
”’Each poem an aria into another,’ Jared Smith writes—a phrase that captures the musicality and force of his work. We'd have to reach back to Jeffers and Whitman, Yeats and Shelley, to find the kind of fecundity this poet has to offer. His vision is unsparing but layered by profound compassion for the sufferings of people and the natural world of which we have been such poor protectors. [. . .] This kind of awareness he calls ‘the yoke of knowledge.’ We have never been more in need of it than now.”—Joseph Hutchison, Colorado Poet Laureate (2014-2019), author of The World As Is
” Jared Smith continues to reconfigure and contemporize Romanticism, Modernism, and the Beat/Black Mountain Poetry aesthetic. From his opening salvo to his imagistic closing, Smith explores the way in which the past […] endures within the collective psyche. Crafting riveting images of techno-dystopianism while voicing a profound and lyrical attunement to natural processes, Smith captures the 21st Century zeitgeist, affirming himself as one of the most keenly evocative poets writing today.”—John Amen, author of Illusion of an Overwhelm
”Jared Smith's haunting new collection is laden with an honesty and wisdom born of mourning that readers will savor. The poems dig in and become part of you, like great poems do. This is a big book full of big, important poems that bring the issues of our times close and lyrical poems that will make you weep. These are poems that have the courage to show us who we are and where we are. This is a book to cherish.”—Jonah Bornstein, The Art of Waking
Jared Smith is the author of 16 volumes of poetry and editor of several volumes of applied science. He has served on the Editorial Board of several literary magazines, including The New York Quarterly, Home Planet News, The Pedestal Magazine, and Turtle Island Quarterly, in addition to the boards of literary and arts non-profits in New York, Illinois, and Colorado. His poetry and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary journals and anthologies in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, England, France, Taiwan, and Mainland China.
Recognized for his work in both the arts and sciences, Jared got his undergraduate and graduate degrees from New York University. He taught at NYU's Reading Institute and LaGuardia Community College (CCNY,) before working as Vice President at The Energy Bureau, Inc.; Associate Director of Education and Research at Institute of Gas Technology, where his work included serving as an Advisor on Critical Infrastructure vulnerabilities to several White House Commissions under President Clinton; and finally as Special Appointee to Argonne National Laboratory. He lives with his wife in Ellicott City, Maryland.