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May 19, 2016 / barton smock

{shell}

 

others:

I dream the ocean is a doll that comes to my knees.

http://www.dinkpress.com/store/infant-cinema-by-barton-smock

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self:

my son won’t use a spoon as he fears it distracts his food.

/

dropped on its head for saying footprint, the baby begins its work of collecting only those sounds it can scare.

/

http://www.lulu.com/shop/barton-smock/moon-tattoo/paperback/product-22634440.html

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shell, praise:

I was so entranced by the seemingly simple but endlessly complex, prickly lyrics that I wrote to the author, Barton Smock, through his blog, kingsoftrain.wordpress.com. 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…

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.

~ Kazim Ali

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 in this collection 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

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

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

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