Department of English

St. Francis Xavier University

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Antigonish, Nova Scotia  CANADA

B2G 2W5



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Douglas Burnet Smith is the author of sixteen books of poetry.  Nominated for the Governor General's Award, Canada's most prestigious literary honour, he has won many prizes for his writing, including The Malahat Review Long Poem Prize.  He has represented Canada at international writers’ festivals, including:  the Belgrade International Writers’ Meeting, the Sarajevo International Poetry Festival , Le Scriptorium:  Marseille, and Le Marché de la Poésie, Paris, the Marlborough Festival, England, the DH Lawrence Festival, Sante Fe.  The National Gallery of Canada's audiotape guide to its permanent collection contains his work.  He has served as the President of the League of Canadian Poets and as Chair of the Public Lending Right Commission of Canada. 


Douglas Smith's newest collection of verse beckons readers into a playful, introspective world.  Traveler's encounters and minute yet lingering perceptions of existence mingle here with intimate insights, imbued with modest worldliness... while the control and fluidity of Smith's verse strips these "road poems" of commonplace logbook observations.

                         Marc Heberden, Paris Vo

[Travel writing], a genre that often seems to dissolve into a mess of anecdotes, epigrams, and simple jottings becomes, under the pressure of Smith's talent and the pleasures of a Parisian address, a sumptuous group of splendid lyrics....  Passages from these lyrics are pictureand pitch-perfect.... If you haven't already read Smith, this book is an ideal place to begin your discovery of one of English-Canada's most accomplished urbane and "winning" poets.  For those already in the know, this book marks a further progress ... A masterful practitioner of the art.

    George Elliott Clarke, Halifax Herald

Smith changes locations as often as he changes style.  His mordant sense of humour winds around his subjects people, poetry, rivers, art, and architecturewith a poetic insight that can be either telescopic or extremely intimate.  Jets are "like slugs," coliseums can be lonely, and rain drops are "Stalin's fists/smashing/through the glass."  Locations aside, there are many beautiful poems some are full of grace and wonder, while others simply smell of the street's piss, dust, and disillusionment.

    Patrick Woodcock, Quill & Quire

Though based on a traveller's observations, these poems are often more than quick tourist sketches ... Each poem is an episode, a poignant pause in a general moving on ... In the long serial sequence Alésia, the poet creates a compelling weaving of romance, place, thanatos, and uncertainty.  Beautifully rendered, it dances through moments, revealing just enough to glimpse for ourselves, but omitting enough to leave an air of mystery--that of the unclarified romance ... [Helsinki Drift] is a careful accretion of "exotic" circumstance, observation and reflection on aspects of human existence--personal and objective--all presented out of that heightened state that travel places us in... a sumptuous and surprising probing for knowledge....

  Steven Ross Smith, Prairie Fire

"Milosevic in Paris"... Part fascination with death, part retribution fantasy, part Paris travelogue, the long poem takes as its starting point Milsoevic's visit to the City of Light.  Whether that sightseeing tour is from the news or imagined (he was, in fact, just outside the city at Rambouillet, scoffing at a peace accord), it serves Smith well, allowing the poet to stitch, with condemning threads, the speaker of the poem sunning himself on the patio to the suburban commuters to the symbolic emblems of civilization and nationhood:  the Eiffel Tower ("a gaudy bauble/ fallen from the retirement bracelet of God") and Napoleon's tomb at Les Invalides.

    Literary Review of Canada

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Please click on the covers below for descriptions, and commentary on, each work. View more covers by clicking on the arrow to the right of "Ladder to the Moon".