Life-list, by Jessica Smith
Poetry
ISBN 9780986264023 Paperback, 1st Edition
78 pages
Published 2015
17.00

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Jessica Smith, Founding Editor of Foursquare and name magazines and Coven Press, serves as the Librarian for Indian Springs School, where she curates the Indian Springs School Visiting Writers Series. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, she received her B.A. in English and Comparative Literature: Language Theory, M.A. in Comparative Literature, and M.L.S. from SUNY Buffalo, where she participated in the Poetics Program. She is the author of numerous chapbooks including Trauma Mouth (Dusie 2015) and two full-length books of poetry, Organic Furniture Cellar (Outside Voices 2006) and Life-List (Chax 2015).

Life-List is a meditation on memory, love, and grief organized through the language of birding. From a fluttering first kiss to the frantic flapping of the last captive passenger pigeon on Earth looking for her mate, Life-List explores the relation of the individual to her incessantly disappearing habitat.

“we have lost something in the translation / of time into language,” Jessica Smith writes in this lovely book of experimental poems, Life-List. But breaking open the words, she enables “that which would kill you” to burst into flowers, creating the space—of breath, of spirit, of imagination—to let the birds in this book of birds fly through.      Ann Fisher-Wirth

Dinosaurs did not go extinct. Approximately 10,000 extant species of birds appear to be descended from a subgroup of theropods, a heritage that includes our childhood idol T Rex as well as the bee hummingbird. Birders know the richness of heeding their presence & variety, the divination of alectryomancy, the creation of life-lists. Any reader who heeds the n apart from hero in heron will recognize how birds articulate space & vice versa, how a life looking outward can be invested with our deepest interiors. The Brain, a very smart woman once wrote, is wider than the sky.      Ron Silliman