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.

Kuto~urufu to Bejitarian Sushi

Lester : August 21, 2014 8:30 am : Announcements, Japanese, Poetry, Popcorn Press, Veganism

Jamie Chambers meets me for dinner to fulfill an old Cthulhu Haiku II Kickstarter promise. His performance really seals the deal.

Kuto~urufu to bejitarian sushi

CREDITS: Lester Smith as Cthulhu, Jamie Chambers as Jamie Chambers, Karalyn Smith as Voice of Server, Filmed by Karalyn Smith, Edited by Ralph Faraday, Music by Kevin MacLeod

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4 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

Lester : May 14, 2014 5:41 pm : Announcements, Poetry, Review

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 : 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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