Elizabeth Smart

(27 December 1913 - 4 March 1986 / Ottawa / Ontario)

Elizabeth Smart
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Elizabeth Smart was a Canadian poet and novelist. Her book, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, detailed her romance with the poet George Barker. She is the subject of the 1991 biography, By Heart: Elizabeth Smart a Life, by Rosemary Sullivan, and a film, Elizabeth Smart: On the Side of the Angels, produced by Maya Gallus.

Early Years

Smart was born to a prominent family in Ottawa, Ontario; her father, Russell Smart, was a self-made lawyer, and the family had a summer house on Kingsmere Lake located next door to the future Prime Minister of Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie King. She began writing at an early age, publishing her first poem at the age of ten and ... more »

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  • O I know they make war because they want peace; they hate so that they may live; and they destroy the present to make the world safe for the future. When have they not done and said they did it for th...
    Elizabeth Smart (1913-1986), Canadian author, poet. Necessary Secrets, entry for Feb. 18, 1941, ed. Alice Van Wart (1991).
  • ''Vanity is a vital aid to nature: completely and absolutely necessary to life. It is one of nature's ways to bind you to the earth.''
    Elizabeth Smart (1913-1986), Canadian author, poet. Necessary Secrets, pt. 1, ch. 2, journal entry for June 25, 1933, ed. Alice Van Wart (1991).
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Comments about Elizabeth Smart

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  • Rookie George Barker (1/15/2014 3:50:00 PM)

    The previous commenter seems to be confusing two different Elizabeth Smarts. One was a Canadian poet who died in 1986 (the subject of this page) , the other is a young American girl kidnapped in 2002.

  • Rookie Kicker Ofelves (8/7/2008 10:36:00 AM)

    It's amazing that she could get kidnapped from her home, engage in polygamy with an old hippie and his wife, be 'rescued', go into a media firestorm, practice the harp and still find time to write such poetry. That Brian Mitchell must've had some fine technique or pimp-hand to drive her to write this:

    'I am over-run, jungled in my bed, I am infested with a menagerie of desires: my heart is eaten by a dove, a cat scrambles in the cave of my sex, hounds in my bed obey a whipmaster who cries nothing but havoc as the hours test my endurance with an accumulation of tortures.'

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Best Poem of Elizabeth Smart

A Bonus

That day i finished
A small piece
For an obscure magazine
I popped it in the box

And such a starry elation
Came over me
That I got whistled at in the street
For the first time in a long time.

I was dirty and roughly dressed
And had circles under my eyes
And far far from flirtation
But so full of completion
Of a deed duly done
An act of consummation
That the freedom and force it engendered
Shone and spun
Out of my old raincoat.

It must have looked like love
Or a fabulous free holiday
To the young men sauntering
Down Berwick...

Read the full of A Bonus

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