genii loci

The Poetry and Writing of Lou Smith

“The Sound of Unknowing”: Theorizing Race, Gender, and ‘Illegitimacy’ Through Jamaican Family Photography.

It’s an honour to have the article I co-authored with my sister Dr Karina Smith published in the latest edition of the Journal of Women’s History. ““The Sound of Unknowing”: Theorizing Race, Gender, and ‘Illegitimacy’ Through Jamaican Family Photography” explores our maternal family history, particularly our grandmother’s story, through a reading of family photographs taken in Jamaica in the early 1900s.  You can access the article here:
https://muse.jhu.edu/article/689108

 

 

The Disappearing

It is wonderful to have two of my poems “These river flats” and “Ash Island” feature in Red Room Poetry’s map of disappearing places, The Disappearing.  Both poems explore places in my hometown of Newcastle, NSW.

The Lifted Brow

Check out my latest comic collaboration with TextaQueen “The Milkman of Human Kindness” in the latest issue of The Lifted Brow (front cover image is below so you know which issue to look out for!) – hot off the press! “The Milkman of Human Kindness” explores both my paternal family history and the history of the Australian dairy industry. Go to theliftedbrow.com for more info on where to purchase the journal and how to subscribe.

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Flightpath

I am excited to have my poem calidris ruficollis (smallest shorebird in Australia), a migrationincluded in Flightpath, an anthology of poetry and prose inspired by the migratory birds of the world. Edited by Virginia Jealous and featuring linocuts by Victoria Castiglione, the collection has recently been published by Hallowell Press Denmark, Western Australia. The collection includes contributions from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States. You can also purchase it as a beautiful limited edition cloth-bound hardback edition! See hallowellpress.com for more information.

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Mallee

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Older Poems (#6)

Drifting

My diary entries end at:
“Thursday
tanks entered Denham Town.”
On Monday the 6pm curfew had been called;
the next day
I walked along the grassy footpath
of the University of the West Indies campus
the heat cocooning me,
causing mirages of people walking
in the distance.

The campus was empty,
only security gathered in groups
where the roads met
or cruised past in cars.

Clouds hovered
amidst the peaks
of the Blue Mountains
always promising rain,
but no rain came.

At the library
whispered conversations
“but they are innocent people,”
“then they should leave.”

The ground swallowed me then
the air like a wet towel smothering me
as I walked the long walk home
to the sound of nothing.

 

Published in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters. Issue 3. July 2014. http://mokomagazine.org/wordpress/poems-by-lou-smith/

Interviewing the Caribbean Spring 2017

Part 2 of Interviewing the Caribbean, ‘A History of Violence: The Making of Caribbean Society’ has been released and is available for purchase on MagCloud: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/1274190. Part 2 features work by Jacqueline Bishop, Imani Tafari-Ama, Gloria Joseph and many more amazing writers and artists. I was privileged to have poems and an interview included in Part 1 of this issue of Interviewing the Caribbean edited by Opal Palmer Adisa.

 

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Older Poems (#5)

Metamorphosis

Swarms of yellow
in the morning
when the light still
streaks white;
they dot the trees
and are all I can see in
the spaces.
A butterfly
is an exhalation of breath
carrying the name of the deceased,
their soul inhabiting this place
for a period so brief.
But what is time
in a swarm of yellow butterflies?
Names are inscribed
in the tissue of wings—
Dorrit
Beulah
Elvira
Billy
Vivia
Augustus
Doris…
my ancestors’
souls released
from their chrysalis,
an abundant mass
the colour of little suns.

 

Published in Moko: Caribbean Arts and Letters. Issue 3. July 2014. http://mokomagazine.org/wordpress/poems-by-lou-smith/

 

Poems in ‘Interviewing the Caribbean’

Part 1 of the latest issue of Interviewing the Caribbean, ‘A History of Violence: The Making of Caribbean Society’ is now available. Four of my poems appear in this issue. It is an honour to be in the company of such magnificent Caribbean writers and artists as Kendal Hippolyte, Merle Collins, Devorah Major, Opal Palmer Adisa, Gillian Mapp, Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming, Robin Clare, Teju Adisa-Farrar and many, many more. Thank you to editor Opal Palmer Adisa for putting together such a rich and thought-provoking issue.

As the title of the journal suggests, I have also been interviewed by editor Opal Palmer Adisa. The journal is available to purchase on MagCloud: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/1226109

 

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Slow Journey

It is the small things
translucent snail
fits perfectly between
forefinger and thumb
slow-journeying across
the brickwork
torrents of rain sliding
off its shell
(memory of gerbera
stems soft as fur)
snails were my guardians
then, shell-swags
full-to-brim with teapots,
books and leathermans.
In my deep bones
I know they protect me
stalked eyes roaming,
household deities