Poet, Teacher, Writer, Editor

     Welcome to my web site.  In various capacities, I'm a poet, teacher, writer, and editor based in western Wisconsin near the Twin Cities.  My work is strongly rooted here, so in my poems you'll meet some of the people, animals, birds, flowers, and trees I encounter day to day, not least the wonderfully named kinnickinnic, or red osier dogwood or red willow, so plentiful in these parts.  I like the symbolism of kinnickinnic, so ready to root from a cutting that the Indians saw it as an emblem of resurrection.

     I've kept this site simple for easy navigation.  "About" will fill you in on a little biographical background.  "Poems" showcases a few poems with which I've been particularly happy over the years.  I'm using the "Blog" section to air occasional essays on literature, culture, and current affairs.  "Publications" provides a brief bibliography of my published work.  "Contact" tells you how to get in touch with me.  (I always welcome comments by readers, not to mention invitations to read or teach.)  And this home page does double duty as a calendar for upcoming events.  I hope you'll have as enjoyable a time glancing around this site as I've had putting it together. 


Thomas R. Smith and Friends, 3rd Annual Tribute to John Lennon and the Beatles in Poetry and Song:  Tuesday, December 9, 7 p.m., River Falls Public Library, 140 Union Street, River Falls, WI.  Free.  "The singer's going to sing a song, and he wants you all to sing along!"


Fall poetry class at the Loft Literary Center:
The Power of the Image (12 weeks)
Thursdays, September 25 - December 18, 6-8 p.m. at the Loft Literary Center, 1011 Washington Ave. S.,  Minneapolis. 
Among the many gifts poetry offers, the metaphorical image has contributed one of the richest and most dynamic pleasures to be found in literature.  In this class we'll explore ways in which the image has periodically revitalized world poetry, and in weekly writing exercises invite its enlivening and unpredictable energy into our own poems.  In the hands of master poets from Baudelaire and Neruda to Bly and Hirshfield, the image has opened startling, sometimes strangely beautiful new vistas to modern readers.  From its origins among the Symbolist poets of the 19th century through later movements such as Imagism, Surrealism, Beat poetry and "Deep Image" poetry, up to the present day, we'll discover the poetic image and deepen our understanding and appreciation of its visionary power.
For more information or to register:  612/215-2575 or   www.loft.org/classes/detail/?loft_product_id=80880

Recent Publications

Airmail:  The Letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer is now available from Graywolf Press.  For a report on the official launch held at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis on Tuesday, April 2, see Minneapolis Star Tribune book review editor Laurie Hertzel's blog at


For a perceptive reviewer's take on the book, see Alice Gregory's review for The New Republic at


I am also happy to report that a British edition of Airmail is just out this past summer from Bloodaxe Books in the UK.  The Guardian in its July 12 edition has published a perceptive review by Fiona Sampson.  Sampson writes:  "Testament to the possibilities of [a writing life well-lived], this is a generous, intimate book.  It should be required reading for everyone interested in poems and the making of poetry."  You can find Ms. Sampson's full review at:


Coming in Spring 2015

A new collection of poems, The Glory, from Red Dragonfly Press.  Watch this space for further announcements!

Recent Entries

The Coming Elections: Make or Break Time for Wisconsin
    This coming November, Wisconsinites will make one of the more momentous and far-reaching decisions in the political history…
When the Rainbow Starts to Pay: The Triumph of Marques Bovre
    Strictly Discs on Monroe Street in Madison, Wisconsin, occupies a deceptively small corner location in a residential business district. …
At Our Grandparents' House, Watching the Ed Sullivan Show, February 9, 1964
Do you remember the fresh shock of the Beatles'look and sound, giddy joy in the choreographedhead-shakes, tumult of yeah-yeahs like…