Devotions by Bruce Smith
(Phoenix Poets)

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In the hands of Bruce Smith, devotions are momentary stops to listen to the motor of history. They are meditations and provocations. They are messages received from the chatter of the street and from transmissions as distant as Memphis and al-Mansur. Bulletins and interruptions come from brutal elsewheres and from the interior where music puts electrodes on the body to take an EKG. These poems visit high schools, laundromats, motels, films, and dreams in order to measure the American hunger and thirst. They are interested in the things we profess to hold most dear as well as what’s unspoken and unbidden. While we’re driving, while riding a bus, while receiving a call, while passing through an X-ray machine, the personal is intersected—sometimes violently, sometimes tenderly—with the hum and buzz of the culture. The culture, whether New York or Tuscaloosa, Seattle or Philadelphia, past or present, carries the burden of race and “someone’s idea of beauty.” The poems fluctuate between the two poles of “lullaby and homicide” before taking a vow to remain on earth, to look right and left, to wait and to witness.


About Bruce Smith

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Bruce Smith lover of history and historical writing, write on the Arts and Crafts movement, bungalows, craft, and food. Smith was the editor of American Bungalow News and associate editor of American Bungalow magazine. Smith co-owns The Arts and Crafts Press in Berkely, California, publishers of The Tabby: A Chronicle of the Arts and Crafts Movement.
Published March 15, 2011 by University of Chicago Press. 104 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Devotions

Publishers Weekly

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Smith's energetic, muscular and all-around superb sixth collection appears to contain almost everything. The onrushing poems in long-lined free verse, long sentences and longer lists address the most

Mar 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Devotions (Phoenix Poets)

The New York Times

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like Whitman, Smith wants both intimacy and a grand, almost mystically inclusive, voice: “The audience / for this (we can’t agree) will be you or homies, Buddhists, / Prince Hal in Birkenstocks, birds, texting men, enraptured, / ruptured girls left alone in the tent city.” Smith, too, hears Ameri...

Aug 04 2011 | Read Full Review of Devotions (Phoenix Poets)

Publishers Weekly

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But he is never narrow, nor single-minded: global climate change and the scope of all history ("We were the infinite apes at infinite keyboards"), the sonnet and the history of sonnets, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, 9/11, a Chinese restaurant in Alabama, high school shop class, maternal elegy,...

Mar 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Devotions (Phoenix Poets)

The Gospel Coalition

With DGNT, Zondervan has managed to publish a book that will challenge the Greek student to think deeply about the syntax and the Savior of the Greek NT.

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