I Live in a Hut
You live in a what?
I Live in a Hut is a collection of poems published in 2012 by Cleveland State University Press. It was the winner of the 2011 first book prize, judged by Matthea Harvey.
Here’s what some people have to say:
“It’s simple, really: Smith’s poems are fun to read. This is a reductive and facile categorization, to be sure, and stating someone’s poetry is ‘fun’ often means it is deficient in some manner or overly simplistic. The word fun has such little purchase in literary criticism because it means essentially nothing—what is ‘fun’ for one reader is laborious and dull for another. Smith’s kind of fun, than, is of the type that is actually fun. Think laughing out loud. Think verbal waterfalls, linguistic roller coasters. Slips and slides and alliterative rolls off the tongue. Inside jokes that cement new friendships.” Jeff Alessandrelli, The Rumpus
“Jack Gilbert insists that ‘there will be music despite everything,’ and Smith has taken this sentiment to heart, transposing ‘beauty’ for ‘music,’ and does so not only with rhetoric — and I use this term loosely — but with abundant passion, however tonally variegated it may be, and the power of her poetic facilities, and this is why she should be read. Not by sheer talent alone, but with the skill of a technician unabashed to say ‘… I / have only promised to attempt. I have attempted. Let’s move on.’” Darius Antwan Stewart, Cerise Press (hi D!)
“Smith’s imaginative, quick-silver language is a distinct pleasure, as is her wisdom.” Eilleen Tabios, Galatea Resurrects #25
“I’m able to hold on because there is a great deal of empathy here, a feeling of camaraderie inside the confusion of living. Joy and despair are equally inexorable, horribly, humanly linked.” Nick Sturm, Coldfront’s Top 40 Poetry Books of 2012
“S.E. Smith's poetry is not bound by region, but is rather an egret flung across the literary landscape like a sprite or a storm. The simplicity of her book title, I Live in a Hut, is deceptive, and only hints at the wild, rambunctious spirit of possibility when a poet throws a party. This is a book worth reading, and a poet worth watching.” Marci Calabretta, Gulf Stream
WANNA BUY IT NOW?? You should do that at SPD, or visit your local indie bookstore and ask them to special order it for you. xox
ps the cover is a photograph by the incredible Barry Stone, whose work you can find here.
pps I used to publish under the name S.E. Smith because there are lots of Sarah Smiths, and I like S.E. Hinton and C.D. Wright, so it seemed like a good idea. I also liked the genderlessness, because sometimes people would write things like “S.E. Smith really shows his ass in this poem." However, I didn’t bargain on the fact that there is another s.e. smith in the world, and furthermore, they are also a writer! In fact, their website is even called "realsesmith.com," as if I am somehow a less than real S.E.? I guess they resent the potential for confusion, because they write serious journalism and I, as we have already established, really show my ass in my poems.
Anyway, I’m Sarah Elaine Smith now, and that’s that. But if you see an S.E. Smith in a literary journal circa 2006-14, that’s why.