Best Poet

Rod Smith

With 23 years running Aerial Magazine, 15 years at Georgetown’s Bridge Street Books, and 10 books of poetry published (including last year’s Deed), Rod Smith is a central player in D.C.’s poetry scene. Still, Smith is at his best when flouting poetic tradition. The 45-year-old Cleveland Park poet’s work is, in a word, weird. Take Smith’s “Tub Ride”: “Dad was the man who was always pointing into the sky/at a buzzard. Into a bush at a buzzard. He had a vision./He had a talent for mathematics. He had a tub ride.” The brilliance of Smith’s nonsense lies in its dense underbelly, its hilarious and disturbing investigation into human neurosis. Just imagine what Dad’s tub ride could be.

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