• Be Sonnetary!

    Why buy flowers that fade?
    A sonnet lasts forever!
  • Brief Bio

    Lester Smith is a 2-term past president of the WFOP, a 4-time Origins-winning game designer, and a former JavaScript teacher for the HWG. He works days as a Writer/Technologist for the educational publishing house Sebranek Inc, nights and weekends as president of Popcorn Press.

  • Meta

  • Current Project:

  • Fencing Poker Deck

  • Other Card Games…

    Monster Con card game
    Invasion of the Saucer People card game
    Wolf Man's Curse card game
  • Suggested Reading

  • Undying Games

    Dark Conspiracy roleplaying game
    now by 3Hombres
    Dragon Dice game
    now by SFR Inc.
  • Cons I’m Attending

  • Poetry

    George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron ByronIn 1985, a British Romantic Period Literature class changed my life. The poetry of Byron, Shelley, and Keats wakened in me a passion for writing. I determined to somehow make a career of it—and somehow feed my children.

    Since then I’ve worked exclusively in publishing, first for game companies, now in education. I also continue to write, study, and promote poetry. It’s my opinion that poetry used to belong to the people, until academics stole it. It’s high time to steal it back from them.

    4 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

    Lester Smith : May 14, 2014 5:41 pm : Announcements, Poetry, Review
    Blackbird standing on one leg

    Blackbird standing on one leg” photo by Bruce Ruston

    If you’re reading this, chances are you know how much I love, and champion, poetry. You may also be aware of my quip that about a century ago, academics stole poetry from regular people, and ever since, some of us have been trying to steal it back.

    Which is to say, as clever as academic poetry may sometimes be, it too often lacks any real heart or conviction. And too often, it seems, it chooses to be obscure for the same reason academics use unnecessarily obfuscatory terms in prose—to avoid appearing “common.”

    For some time, then, I’ve cast disparaging glances at what to me seemed an unnecessarily difficult poem: Wallace Stevens‘ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” Still, something about the poem continued calling to me, as if a blackbird were cawing to draw my attention, and I just couldn’t understand what it wanted.
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    Sundown on this Town

    Lester Smith : March 8, 2014 11:40 am : Announcements, Poetry, Popcorn Press
    Sundown on this Town cover

    Popcorn Press has a new poetry chapbook out, titled Sundown on this Town, by Jessica A. Gleason.

    It’s an irreverent collection, somewhat in the tradition of Charles Bukowski. When the manuscript arrived, the very first poem, “These Poems Are Potentially Offensive” made me laugh out loud with its delightful word play.…

    These Poems Are
    Potentially Offensive

    So, if your eyes are delicate,
    read about sailboats. So stern
    and solid, made of aged wood.
    So different from the strong
    rigidity of a feisty ignorant boner.

    And the rest of the collection is every bit as skillful in its badinage, as in its Bukowski-like honesty. I’m thrilled to have it included in the Popcorn Press catalog.

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    St. Valentine’s Day Aftermath

    Lester Smith : February 15, 2014 2:43 pm : Announcements, Poetry
    Bullet Holes

    If you’ve been following my posts the past several days, you’ll know that I’ve been working on a Valentine’s Day sonnet, prompted by ideas suggested from my Georgian buddy John Cochrane. I’ve also been using the project as an opportunity to discuss the writing process: 1. Prewriting, 2. Drafting, 3. Revising, 4. Editing, and 5. Publishing.

    I covered prewriting in two separate posts: “A Valentine Sonnet in Progress” and “Valentine Sonnet Prewriting 2.”

    A draft of the first quatrain can be found at “Valentine Sonnet Draft – Stanza 1,” and a final draft of the entire sonnet at “A Valentine’s Day Sonnet for an Old Couple.”

    Note the repeated use of the word “draft.” It’s too early to call this a completed poem. I’m still too close to it myself and have had very little critique from other people. So, despite the fact that it’s had some revision (the couplet, for example has changed from “They’ve left us here, caretakers of a time / that’s past, but still preserved in this, our rhyme” to “caretakers of an age / that’s past, but still preserved here on this page” to its current incarnation), and I’ve edited pretty carefully (spelling, punctuation, correct word usage), I remain suspicious of a few things.
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