Abraham Smith

big-ass crunky green tomato reading notes

Done went 50+ poets in three days Alabama, something. Reading (s) questions/notes:

1. What to do with hands?

1. How long do you think about what you are going to wear?

2. Introductions longer than poems.

44. Risky: reading in southern accent because you are in The South.

11. Poetry readings in bars make the bartenders almost mime-like, hushed ordering, pouring of drinks, a reverent tinkling of glass, silent smiles. Quite lovely.

[Brandi Wells reading at The Green Bar. The can of beer in right corner low is Abe Smith‘s beer. It is a Good People IPA.]

3. POETRY (profound, hushed voice…book in hand) versus “Uh, these are some poems.” (crinkly paper in hand)

3. Read first or read last or read middle or refuse to read?

3. Inside jokes to friends during reading to larger audience as never effective?

3. Flask/no flask?

3. Revelation: I am beginning to prefer undergraduate or other poets who have not read live very often.

3. I honestly thank/congrat one poet and he blows me off. He ‘cut’ me as Hemingway used to say. A poet. It costs him one book sale and some bad word of mouth later at a beer trough. So what? Respect or hater? A tad of both, I suppose. I still dig his poetry.

4. Do you prefer podium or some physical thing to psychologically shield you from audience?

6. Moon, muses, gossamer. Three words possibly enfeebled/faded, or possibly a challenge to prove otherwise?

4. Best intro line I heard since it could be innocuous or an absolute rip-shot across bow or simply authentic or really smart-ass: “Hey ya’ll, I’m not really a poet. I wish I was, I’d be real smart.”

3. Eagerness is interesting.

Author Spotlight & Events & Random / 11 Comments
April 4th, 2011 / 9:34 am


Hank by Abraham Smith

Most everyone I’ve talked to about this book or about Abraham Smith in general, his reading performances or his writing, his ideas, his sense of verbal compulsion and montage of syllable, his voice, has pretty much come to agree on one point: “I have no goddamn idea where this guy came from.” His first book Whim Man Mammon, also from Action, was one I read I think in a small room and somewhat in my backyard, thinking somehow someone had learned to talk to a machine, but like a machine that used to sit in the back room of a shaving place where men came to bark secrets at other men while getting the hair done off their face. An image from one of the poems in that first of a man throwing a chair at a sweet gum tree remains one of those tranplanted sights that is just now a full part of my own head.

Earlier this year then I saw Abe read from the same poems in a larger room, channeling some kind of cross between his own admitted sound of hearing preachers through transistors growing up in Kentucky, and some kind of tangled man caught in a draft vent. Everyone I went to that reading with still talks about jesus christ that guy is something. I had to reread that first book again after that and understood it not as a machine but as someone maybe talking to the ground that used to be underneath our feet and the sky that used to have a different kind of color too, and with a shitton maybe of whiskey and old music that sits in the soles of people’s feet. [Here’s a downloadable video of Abe reading from both books.] Here’s another:

This new second book, Hank, after Hank Williams, goes even further than that first one in just inventing and channeling this who the what where how did you say mode. These poems are longer and all titled not in english but in expletive deletion symbols, probably like the weird kind of coils that seem to come up when you hear someone talk like this. I can’t even pick excerpts from these ongoings because it feels like taking the finger off a hand.


October 10th, 2010 / 12:29 pm