William Jay Smith

(1918 / Louisiana, USA)

William Jay Smith
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William Jay Smith, born in April 22nd, 1918, is an American poet. He was appointed the nineteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1968 to 1970. He was born in Winnfield, Louisiana. He was brought up at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, south of St. Louis. William Jay Smith received his A.B. and M.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, and went on with his studies at Columbia University, and Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. In 1947 Smith married the poet Barbara Howes, and they lived for a time in England and Italy. They had two sons, David Smith, and Gregory. They divorced in the mid-1960s. William Jay Smith was a poet in residence at Williams ... more »

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  • ''He hangs in the hall by his black cravat,
    The ladies faint, and the children holler:
    Only my Daddy could look like that,
    And I love my Daddy like he loves his Dollar.''
    William Jay Smith (b. 1918), U.S. poet. American Primitive (l. 9-12). . . Oxford Book of Short Poems, The. P. J. Kavanagh and James Michie, eds. O...
  • ''Not ringed but rare, not gilled but polyp-like, having sprung up

    These mushrooms of the gods, resembling human organs uprooted,
    rooted only on the air,''
    William Jay Smith (b. 1918), U.S. poet. Morels (l. 12-13). . . Book of Nature Poems, A. William Cole, comp. (1969) The Viking Press.
  • ''Tasting of the sweet damp woods and of the rain one inch above the meadow:

    It was like feasting upon air.''
    William Jay Smith (b. 1918), U.S. poet. Morels (l. 29-31). . . Book of Nature Poems, A. William Cole, comp. (1969) The Viking Press.
  • ''The lariat snaps; the cowboy rolls
    His pack, and mounts and rides away.
    Back to the land the cowboy goes.''
    William Jay Smith (b. 1918), U.S. poet. The Closing of the Rodeo (l. 1-3). . . New Poets of England and America. Donald Hall, Robert Pack, and Lou...
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