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January 21, 2017 / barton smock


I occur only to the animal that wants to die

January 20, 2017 / barton smock


curfew, pregnancy, dream-

this plan
to stop

January 20, 2017 / barton smock

{pictures of god don’t sell / surprise for me a crow}

15% off all print books on Lulu today with coupon code of RESUPPLY15


[pictures of god don’t sell]

[surprise for me a crow]


poems from {pictures of god don’t sell}:

[themes for arrowhead]

if the damn thing is a boy, let it have a knot in its stomach. if it’s not one twin, it’s another. if a girl, find a woman who’s been to nothing and back.

bring me a fat tick from the dog of baptism. owl from the hair of god.



I put my sense
of taste
behind me
by placing
a sick child
beside one

a crow is not a star.

is the salt
of now.



poverty, father, mother:

/ someone
at this table
has nothing
to hide

/ touching
can cure

/ open the stomach of the winning monster


[attic radio]

the fattest baby in the nursing home can’t chew with its eyes open.

it’s a slow day.

looking into the future
a skeleton’s
sees only

the robot’s


[white mother]

the holder
of stomachs

the doll
of a depressed



sister has her tail

his paints…

satan’s baby can clap underwater


poems from {surprise for me a crow}:

[bring spoon]

dream won’t have me

kid says
they eat
the extras

of silent


[bring roach]

how long might satellites mourn? sickness took the lord. a scarecrow the pulse of a cricket.

not every image was worth the effort.


[zoo notes]

under hypnosis the boy becomes nostalgic for its opposite. we are having for the hole in your brother a funeral. at sea the haunted cage. in a fish the robot’s rib.


[void notes]

/ is here that our dreams of incarceration begin to overlap


[their language]

clown fog, road head, gas mask

I can work
with anyone

two boats
per animal, horror

is dead
but had

a farm


[country more]

as if night
knows when
to sleep

January 19, 2017 / barton smock

{updated: about}

is married, has four children. Columbus, Ohio.




youtube channel readings, bad lighting:


author spotlight on lulu:

all book previews on site are the viewed book in its entirety. will send free PDFs per request. also, all titles will be sent free in hard copy to those interested in writing a review. inquire, request, here: or


most recent work:


eating the animal back to life
315 pages
published July 2015

of which Kazim Ali says:

Speaking of being captivated, when I was in Cleveland’s most exciting new independent bookstore, Guide to Kulchur, I picked up on a whim a few small volumes that appeared to have been published by the author using Lulu. I was so entranced by the seemingly simple but endlessly complex, prickly lyrics that I wrote to the author, Barton Smock, through his blog, He’s been sending me books now and then and his latest, Eating the Animal Back to Life, is just knocking me out. These poems are desperate, tender, wry, alarmed, god-obsessed, and musically driven. Smock is not published by others, he does it all himself and so the only place you can get his books is here. All the advanced degrees and publishing credentials in the world can’t get you the unspeakable duende that Smock somehow taps into, poem after poem.



& Chickenhouse
84 pages
published October 2015


earth is part earth and there’s a hole in the sound I made you from
98 pages
published December 2015


MOON tattoo
114 pages
published March 2016

…The result of this type of work is that a poem might seem fractured, when it is not. Smock works with both image and symbol in order to create poems that are iconoclastic, alpha and omega…

as reviewed by Krystal Sierra:


infant*cinema, Dink Press, April 2016
6.00 (first non self-published work)

of which, the some that said, say:

Barton Smock’s newest book is filled with enigmatic poetry honed to the barest minimum of language, without a scintilla of excess. In one poem and elsewhere, Smock states that he “does not want to be seen as a person,” and the scant information he has shared in various publications and the rare interview certainly reveals little but that he is a father, husband, likes movies, and writes daily. Yet in infant * cinema, poems that first appear as fragmentary and surreal dreams, prayers, visions, or confessions still evoke a completeness that lacks nothing, wants nothing. Smock reveals a world filled with grief, death, suicides, disabling conditions, and a family’s complex relationships across generations. While the poems mention “lonesome objects,” “melancholy,” “numbness,” and “collected sorrows,” Smock’s masterfully minimalist poetry leaves the reader intoxicated by a rush of original details and bleakly exquisite imagery.
~Donna Snyder, author of Poemas ante el Catafalco: Grief and Renewal (Chimbarazu Press) and I Am South (Virgogray Press)

Infant Cinema can only come from the mind of one writer, Barton Smock. I’ve been following his work for 10 years, and the only thing I’ve come to expect for certain is that I will be transported to a world thick with an atmosphere of vivid imagery, and seemingly juxtaposed and ironic concepts. Infant Cinema is prose that has all those elements, and reads with heightened poetic force.
~Joseph Jengehino, author of Ghost of the Animal (Birds and Bones Press)


review for infant*cinema, by Forage Poetry editor Emma Hall:

Review of infant*cinema by Barton Smock ~Emma Hall


shuteye in the land of the sacred commoner (& other poems)
114 pages
published June 2016


340 pages
published June 2016

~ this is a combined publication of these four collections: earth is part earth and there’s a hole in the sound I made you from / MOON tattoo / infant*cinema / shuteye in the land of the sacred commoner [& other poems] ~


depictions of reentry
146 pages
published August 2016


hick lore rabbit hole
124 pages
published October 2016


pictures of god don’t sell
378 pages
published December 2016

(newer poems and poems selected from eating the animal back to life, as well as collections depictions of reentry and hick lore rabbit hole in full)


surprise for me a crow
104 pages
published January 2017


other praise:

Barton D. Smock’s poetry speaks with a complex and implicated simplicity, it speaks a world somewhat surreal and intellectual, but nevertheless imbued with all the complexity of these strange rages of human emotionalism that strike us at inconvenient or strange times…

~ David McLean

The work of Barton Smock, a prolific mid-western poet, modifies the meaning of Christian Wiman’s idea in that it seeks unceasingly for the spaces between those ‘annihilative silence[s]’ that would pursue us, and for the watchful reader opens some door into human experience in a way that is at once intensely personal and detached. Through the manipulation of both common and cerebral language Smock’s poems maintain a dance between the familiar and the unspeakable. They act as a shout to the silences that curl up in experience- offering some view from the inside of that experience, but never in an expected way.

…The themes of family, abuse, poverty, and alienation figure heavily in the book, but to call this confessional poetry seems a bit out of keeping with what is traditionally considered confessional. He speaks of mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers while also utilizing the first person, but the reader can never be exactly sure who these characters are. They are changeable, and often engaging in nearly surreal activity that might confuse more than enlighten. The key seems to be finding some language to quantify suffering, or some way of qualifying experience out of context – which at moments brings it ever more sharply into sight…

…Smock has found a way to speak for those who don’t perhaps know that they have something important to say; to share. The marginalized child, the grieving mother, the ailing child or sibling- they will all find a voice here, and though it might not be the way they would voice the affliction that rests within them, they are sure to recognize their faces. Whether this is a burden or a blessing remains a judgment to be formed by the individual reader, but I find the poetry…to be full of the intensity of experience in a way that I can’t help but identify and empathize. Something preserved so as not to be forgotten, and perhaps repeated.

~Emma Hall

January 19, 2017 / barton smock

{surprise for me a crow, poems, 104 pages, Jan 2017}

new self-publication. available on Lulu. book preview on site is book entire. share with or shy from, no matter. free hard copy to those interested in reviewing- message me at

as such:

for me
a crow

~ 104 pages

poems, Barton Smock, January 2017

January 18, 2017 / barton smock


the shrinking

the ugliness
of horse
by deer

January 18, 2017 / barton smock


20% off all print books on Lulu today with coupon code of SURVIVE20

my most recent…is [pictures of god don’t sell]…December 2016…selections from previous collection ‘eating the animal back to life’, collections ‘depictions of reentry’ and ‘hick lore rabbit hole’ in full, and newer poems…link below:


recent and not so recent poems:


wrapped head-to-toe in toilet paper, he’d still ask for a cigarette. does this kid scream suicide to you? it’s not sexual. the name of my animal

is shape. remember the face we saw in the bruise?


[minutes with my son]

a harp
is the imaginary
a spider
in the clockmaker’s



I am the weakest person my brothers don’t know. I go with them under a blanket we won’t all come out of. hell of a word, hovercraft, but not a sucker for meaning. god torches the bathroom then speaks farmhouse to the father of the accident that never happened. I have a tooth or two knocked in by a footprint. a tick I call dust.



disappearance, firecracker
you never
get past it.

in the angel’s book on animal visitation

a deaf clown
a flower.



all things fish, I suspect, have forgotten to worship the devil.

/ riggers of cow-country staring contests. bread’s ruin.



her child
in a lifeboat
after egg, her memory

that dream
to which
the hangman
his word


[no wolf]

I was a doorstep baby and brother a treehouse.

moon of the injured. moon of the blind.



the nude’s failure to stay awake in a laundromat. the suicide of the copycat toddler. nine types of catfish. a worm’s tongue. god’s last name. the orphan’s timekiller.