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Reverdy Road is a book of poems celebrating the aleatory. They are various responses to their now. Each poem is an open gift, a happy thing in the world – there’s plenty of time to be depressed later on. The book is in three parts divided by treatment rather than matter. But it is the matter of words that is the very subject, and how they signify that matters most. There is no discernable progress, more a marking of time, place, gesture, answering questions through their own musculature. They have embarked on no journey, but they seem to be heading to another destination from a location we can’t know. We are getting there, however. Like Orpheus there is no looking back. Making the world a better place is their business and purpose, they are friendly and want to talk to you. They won’t hurt. They ask very different questions from journalists, but they love journalists. The body’s place is the question they ask and answer they are giving – how do bodies move and remove themselves. The engine is a black Moleskine notebook. Where they enter life. As Smith says, “All my life they lived under my skin, now they enter your circulation.”
‘I think the book is sensational, therefore: ‘More than any poet of his generation, Smith knows it is better to be a freak performer at a penny gaff than a labourer seeking work. Yet he is no side-show Bob or door-to-door huckster peddling quack cure-alls. Devoid of nostrums, his poetry is that rare thing: a real-deal panacea.’’ —Anthony Mellors
‘I can see where Smith has picked up on [Tom] Raworth’s speed and got it into his own nerves brilliantly. I really like the way his poems come at one sideways on, using the fast visual bits that are how we perceive the world.’ —Jeremy Reed
‘Listen up to Simon Smith’s London phonemes in a lyric serial that commutes gods, toast, half light, loss, concrete, poetry, phones and angels from poem to poem. What will happen next memory asks. A sharp poetic intelligence answers, at work and love in the spliced expression, quick emotion, tried and untested reasons.’ —Peter Middleton
‘There is the charming optimism of “you do amazing things simply by reading”, as well as the extreme lyricism of “Tears of rain wind round eaves tears of rain wind round eaves / Tears of rain wind round eaves tears of rain wind round eaves”. The latter is an instructive example of Smith’s approach. We pronounce “tears” confidently enough, but “wind” is more treacherous – should it be read as verb instead of noun? Such enactments of indecision – the nervousness I mentioned – lend grit to the moments of cheery optimism.’ —Simon Coppock, Poetry Review
‘"You can't paraphrase the Real any more," Simon Smith once wrote, but his poems do funny things with the quotidian. Dry, dexterous in their crosscutting of linguistic registers, they maintain an enviable sense of directness that sometimes arrives at the epigrammatic.’ —Kultureflash
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