We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
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.