Lytton Smith, with Sara Renee Marshall: Reading: April 4, 2014

Counterpath hosted Lytton Smith and Sara Renee Marshall for a reading on Friday, April 4, at 7 p.m. Smith read from his recently published While You Were Approaching The Spectacle But Before You Were Transformed By It (Nightboat, 2013)

Lytton Smith is the author of two collection of poetry–While You Were Approaching the Spectacle But Before You Were Transformed by It (2013) and The All-Purpose Magical Tent (2009), both from Nightboat Books, and the translator of two novels from the Icelandic, both published by Open Letter: The Ambassador by Bragi Ólafsson (2010) and Children in Reindeer Woods by Kristín Ómarsdóttir (2012), selected as one of Kirkus Reviews best 100 Fiction titles of 2012. He writes essays on British and transatlantic poetry for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Sara Renee Marshall is the author of a chapbook, Affectionately We Call This The House (Brave Men Press). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in places like Interrupture, Opon, Colorado Review, OmniVerse, Octopus, CutBank and elsewhere. Sara teaches and lives and writes in Denver, Colorado.

“In his second collection, Smith (The All-Purpose Magical Tent) lingers in a censored place where violence can’t be articulated and where language breaks down as it’s translated from eye to memory to Internet. In his poem “The News from Poetry” Smith’s language is fragmented as though reporting over through a fuzzy, long-distance phone line. Visually, the poem resembles Morse code attempting, unsuccessfully, to communicate a surrounding violence. As information moves in the world, parts are lost, translations are warped, and memories shift. Although we see “a satellite image with/ a zoom and travel function. Earth as dispersed as the dirt our treads/ trail to the next destination,” the scene isn’t complete, alluding to “something to the left or right/ of the edges of this picture.”. Smith observes, “there are revolutions per minute, there/ is the information super-highway,” but they may not convene. A country does not vanish if you cannot access it online, though “the Internet can be switched off/ and those outside describe the land/ as gone dark.” At times, Smith writes as though he’s composing a telegram, or a journalist taking flurried notes to remember the event later, where every word is crucial, and insufficient: “It tragic. It urgent.”
Publisher’s Weekly