Literary Nonfiction. Essays. A moving nonfiction debut by Mississippi Delta poet Mike Smith, this memoir-in-essays, AND THERE WAS EVENING AND THERE WAS MORNING: ESSAYS ON ILLNESS, LOSS, AND LOVE, tracks the loss of Smith's first wife to cancer after the birth of the second child, offering a portrait of marriage, family, and tragedy. In honest, and at times darkly comic terms, Smith documents the strange set of coincidences between his first wife's illness and his stepdaughter's similar battle the year his second marriage began, and examines blended families, remarriage, helping children find ways to cope with the loss of a parent, and the influence of spirituality upon loss. Author Tony D'Souza calls Smith "a reflective and precise writer, [who] invites us to walk each step with him as his heart is annihilated." Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Heating & Cooling, says, "What a gift Mike Smith has given us... His prose is nuanced, his voice considered and considerate, his wisdom hard-earned but never bitter. There is beauty and solace here and gorgeous imagery. Smith has written a book for all of us who are dying—which is to say, all of us who are living, and our lives will be the better for having read it." Author Julianna Baggott's writes: "What I love most is that this isn't a book about learning to let go but instead learning that the heart can expand to hold more love..."
Born in the mountains of West Virginia and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, Mike Smith graduated from the University of North Carolina, one semester after proposing to his first wife, Emily. They married the next year, after he received his MA from Hollins College, and, one year after that, he followed her to the University of Notre Dame, where she worked toward her PhD in Theology and he pursued his MFA in poetry. He has published three collections of poetry, including BYRON AND BAGHDAD and MULTIVERSE, a collection of two anagrammatic cycles, and his translation of the first part of Goethe's FAUST was published by Shearsman Books in 2012. He is co-editor of the anthology, Contemporary Chinese Short-Short Stories: A Parallel Text, published by Columbia University Press. Recently, the critic Robert Archambeau has called Mike "the American poet of my generation most clearly writing in a Byronic mode." For the last seven years, he has lived with his second wife Jennifer, their five children, deep in the Mississippi Delta. By day, he is an associate professor of English and directs the Honors Program at Delta State University.Author City: CLEVELAND, MS USA