Titles 1998-2018

Smote, James Kimbrell


Smote reads like an apparition that haunts a racially segregated American South, told through the eyes of a boy confronted by ghosts. Kimbrell presents a landscape of apartment complexes, featureless bars, shotguns, unemployment, and chemically tainted creeks. In language that combines the lushness and comic candor of Faulkner and O’Connor, Kimbrell’s formal mastery tempers an elegiac book.

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James Kimbrell is the author of The Gatehouse Heaven and My Psychic, and the co-translator of Three Poets of Modern Korea. He has been the recipient of the Discovery / The Nation Award, a Whiting Writer’s Award, the Ruth Lilly Fellowship, the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry magazine, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.


"James Kimbrell manifests a power in his poems that one might seek elsewhere as the grace of God.  He renders unflinchingly the personal savagery of our world, savage even in the commonplace, even in the smallest familial interaction, savage in our daily strivings and their outcomes.  But in their honesty, in their thingness, in their ravishingly voiced ache, in their aspiration for connection and for love, these poems are surpassingly beautiful.  Smote is a book of the dark reality of our daily existence; it is a book of abiding grace."
–Robert Olen Butler