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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Best Poem of William Jay Smith

Seal

See how he dives
From the rocks with a zoom!
See how he darts
Through his watery room
Past crabs and eels
And green seaweed,
Past fluffs of sandy
Minnow feed!
See how he swims
With a swerve and a twist,
A flip of the flipper,
A flick of the wrist!
Quicksilver-quick,
Softer than spray,
Down he plunges
And sweeps away;
Before you can think,
Before you can utter
Words like "Dill pickle"
Or "Apple butter,"
Back up he swims
Past Sting Ray and Shark,
Out with a zoom,
...

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