Arthur James Marshall Smith

(8 November 1902 – 21 November 1980 / Montreal)

Arthur James Marshall Smith
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Arthur James Marshall Smith was a Canadian poet and anthologist. He "was a prominent member of a group of Montreal poets" -- the Montreal Group, which included Leon Edel, Leo Kennedy, A.M. Klein, and F.R. Scott -- "who distinguished themselves by their modernism in a culture still rigidly rooted in Victorianism.

Life and Writing

Smith was born in Montreal, but lived in England from 1918 to 1920, where he "studied for the Cambridge Local Examinations, ‘and failed everything except English and history’ (he later wrote)." In England he became aware of contemporary poetry: "he frequented Harold Monroe's bookshop, then the citadel of Georgian ... more »

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Best Poem of Arthur James Marshall Smith

The Lonely Land

Cedar and jagged fir
uplift sharp barbs
against the gray
and cloud-piled sky;
and in the bay
blown spume and windrift
and thin, bitter spray
snap
at the whirling sky;
and the pine trees
lean one way.

A wild duck calls
to her mate,
and the ragged
and passionate tones
stagger and fall,
and recover,
and stagger and fall,
on these stones —
are lost
in the lapping of water
on smooth, flat stones.
This is a beauty
of dissonance,
this resonance
of stony strand,
this smoky cry
curled over a black pine
like a ...

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