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A stunning collection from a poet who "writes with a scalding aortal brilliance that leaves the reader drunk on dream" (New York Times Book Review). Selecting from among Charlie Smith's seven previous collections and including more than forty astonishing new poems, Jump Soul represents work from the career of a poet who "writes with a scalding aortal brilliance that leaves the reader drunk on dream" (New York Times Book Review). From the lush Southern landscapes of Red Roads (1987) and the haunted longing of Heroin (2000) to the bold eroticism of Women of America (2004) and, most recently, the fresh and exuberant Word Comix (2009), Smith reminds us "that we don't really know what beauty is until we've looked hard at the horror that throws beauty into bright relief" (David Kirby, New York Times). Beauty in Smith's poetry is mixed with harrowing darkness; it is "the rescued returned to the floods / and fruit pickers, those who catch beauty / aflight on the sweet-smelling breeze, authentic characters / messed up, dead on the floor / of western motels, crapped out jinxed, lost / to the boulevards." Smith is a poet of "shimmering energy" (Mary Oliver). His work, brutal in its honesty and stunning in its lyricism, is represented in all of its extraordinary range in this new collection. From "Collected First Lines" I'm sure there is meaning, and I know it's sometimes more interesting to stand in a road than to move along it, though even this, said with such confidence just a minute ago, explains nothing.
In Men in Miami Hotels, Smith tells the story of Cot Sims, a listing Miami gangster who returns to Key West aiming to--among other things--save his fool-proof mother from homelessness after a recent hurricane. For love, for cash, and for the hell of it, he snatches a trove of emeralds that his boss, the relentlessly vicious Albertson, keeps hidden on a small island. And then trouble, which has been coiling around him for years like a snake, bites. Cot has forty-eight hours to return the emeralds before items of equal or greater value--namely, the lives of everyone he loves--are repossessed by Albertson and his army of hired gunmen. Fleeing across the Caribbean, Cot blazes a trail of survival, skeltering between the narrowing walls of fate. Charlie Smith has been called a novelist of "appalling brilliance" on the cover of the New York Times Book Review. Critics have praised his work with the fervor of converts. And his prose, as radiant and dynamic as it has ever been, "lands him in the ranks of Americas greatest contemporary fiction writers" (Houston Chronicle).
Billy Brent and Alice Stephens are star-crossed like all great lovers. Their need for each other drives them from Istanbul to Miami, Venice to Mexico. After years of encounters and escapes, they lose themselves deep in a desert wilderness, searching for a way forward, only to learn that sometimes the trail simply forks. From Charlie Smith, author of three New York Times Notable Books, comes his long-awaited new novel, his first in more than a decade. An exploration of the true particulars of obsession, Three Delays is a book of the spirit, of how broken people love and persist from darkness to darkness.
"Smith writes with a scalding aortal brilliance that leaves the reader drunk on dream."--New York Times Book Review Taking as his starting point such wide-ranging subjects as comic books, politics, romantic love, geology, newspapers, totalitarianism, the natural world, the classics, Paris, Miami Beach, and war, Charlie Smith has written freshly realized poems in which compassion and tough-mindedness gesture toward wisdom.
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