Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Maggie Smith's Feather (The Tattooed Poets Project)

Our next tattooed poet is Maggie Smith, who shared this tattoo:

Maggie tells us:
"My tattoo is a black silhouette of a feather. So many of my poems feature birds, and I got the tattoo to celebrate the publication of my second book, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015). I also love the Emily Dickinson line 'Hope is the thing with feathers' (and have designed my website with that line in mind), so a feather was a natural choice. The artist was D. Willy at Sweet Baby Octane in Columbus, Ohio."
Here's a poem from Maggie:

Wren Songs

It’s an installation: Wrens pinned like brooches
to the trees, singing, their eyes glass beads.

Shake a branch, be wary of what falls.

In the unofficial spring, sunshine plays xylophone
on the lawn. The trebly notes are mouths

singing oh, oh, oh. A paper boat leads

the children downstream, through countless
shades of green—spring, grass, moss, forest.

Light plus one green makes another.

The exhibit rotates seasonally. Soon enough
the children will instead be foxes, the greens                                   

will rust. Someone will strike the wren set.

But for now their songs saturate the air.

If the message is urgent, they’ll tell again tomorrow. 

~ ~ ~
Photo by Lauren Powers

Maggie Smith’s second book of poems, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press 2015) was selected by Kimiko Hahn as the winner of the Dorset Prize. She is also the author of Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award, and three prizewinning chapbooks, the latest of which is Disasterology (Dream Horse Press, forthcoming 2015). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, The Paris Review, The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. A 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in poetry, Maggie has also received four Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She can be found online at

Thanks to Maggie for sharing her tattoo with us here on Tattoosday's Tattooed Poets Project!

This entry is ©2015 Tattoosday. The poem and tattoo are reprinted with the poet's permission.

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