Introductions: Maggie Smith
January 30, 2021
By Rebecca Hoogs, SAL Associate Director
Maggie Smith is the author of three books of poetry and just this fall, a book of micro-essays entitled Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change.
You might have first encountered Maggie through the poem, “Good Bones” which—let’s not say, went viral, let’s say, took hold, let’s say, spun the internet into shining spider’s web of poetry for a minute—in 2016, tapping into an engine of grief familiar to me, familiar to so many parents: the desire to shield one’s kids from the dangers of the world; the tension that the world is inherently damaged, while it is also incredibly beautiful.
This tension is rife throughout Maggie Smith’s work. In Keep Moving, she talks about a “beauty emergency,” which is “one of those things you have to look at now, before it’s gone.”
In all of her work, from poems to essays, Maggie Smith stops and looks at the beauty, at the pain. She looks, with tenderness and wonder, at her children, and even at herself, her past mistakes, her present griefs. She showed me a new way to talk to the self. Ada Limón wrote that “truthful, tender, and unafraid of the dark, the poems in Good Bones are lyrically charged love letters to a world in desperate need of her generous eye.”
Friends, these are dark, difficult times indeed. And yet, even in our pandemic stillness, Maggie Smith reminds us to keep moving, to look for beauty. She reminds us that “you are not betraying your grief by feeling joy.”
Please join me in welcoming the doula of the beautiful, a pedometer for poetic momentum, a tender of the tender, poet Maggie Smith.
Maggie Smith gave an online reading on January 22, 2021, as part of our 2020/21 Poetry Series; SAL Associate Director Rebecca Hoogs delivered this introduction.