Skip to main content

The Poetic Sounds of Abraham Smith

Do you need poetic inspiration? Try gathering from the symphony of life to create the perfect audio experience.

Orem City Poet Laureate Abraham Smith opened his presentation to the English Reading Series by saying, “I’m kind of a shouter, so get ready to hear some bellowing.” He did not disappoint. As the lights of the library auditorium dimmed, Smith presented his life’s symphony with rattled and shaky tones that echoed through attendees’ minds as he presented his symphony.

Born and raised in northwestern Wisconsin and now an assistant professor of English at Weber State University, Smith is inspired by the sounds of his childhood. The audio of his home, from the accents of the state to the rustling cornfields, imbued each poem and reading with intriguing emotion. Vivid sounds, images, and experiences exploded from every line: “She was humming hymns while she hung them on the line,” “Art thee the noodling champ of the world,” “Milking the eyes of the kinder dead to repaint these runes,” and “Every little meth runt crouched in the dark.”

Smith’s poetic style values sound over sense as the poet said he tries to “revise towards strangeness and whittle [his poems] down by sounds.” Smith challenged listeners to think about “what sounds trigger [their] emotions” next time they attempt poetry, then to put those noises into words. “You never know,” he mused, “you could be chewing your lunch, but you’re chewing on shrapnels of sound.”

Photo of Abraham Smith
Orem City Poet Laureate Abraham Smith

Come experience the English Reading Series on Fridays at noon in the Harold B. Lee Library auditorium, or on zoom.