Winner of the 2004 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize
Blue on Blue Ground is about the body, desire, anxiety, and obsession—how what we want redeems and isolates us (and is sometimes used against us). These poems are artful yet accessible, lyrical yet direct, strange but recognizable.
Smith’s relentless self-examination, fear, sense of humor, and vulnerability are all laid to bare in crisp, precise language. From lonely observations, bizarre medical fascinations, emotion, loss, and honesty, Blue on Blue Ground constructs its internal and external worlds.
The metaphorical city is also a “body,” a place of exile and restoration, a symbol of hope, a catalyst for connection. The urban landscape is often the background for the moment or is the moment itself—the world looked at and sorted into words.
Though at times dark, there’s love to be found. Perhaps it’s what drives this collection, colors its observations, and leads it to finally announce: “Someone is putting the world back together.” <I>Blue on Blue Ground</I> wants to look at absolutely everything and believes that complete exploration of the physical and mental selves—fears and desires—is the key to moving and being completely alive in the material world.
Aaron Smith's Blue on Blue Ground is a sensuous poetry, a poetry about the complexities of both the psyche and the body. . . . Matt Damon, Cher, Brad Pitt, and even Jesus (as action figure and subject of a kitschy Web site) weave into a 'real' life, a life underneath a flashy and comic surface, a life without artifice.
How entertaining to read this poet's litany of doubts and anxieties! It's awesome how he peels off his skin-he flinches plenty, but operates on himself heroically. . . .You emerge from these poems feeling cleansed. Aaron Smith convinces us, powerfully, that this is what poetry is for.
Wickedly funny, brash and beautiful, Aaron Smith's poems reinvigorate the poetic landscape. Here's a book that will make your heart jump as it unzips and reveals the crispest imagery and the bluest language; a book that will leave bite marks on the inner thigh of literature.
How quickly I am made strange," says the daughter of a dying man seen accidentally by a stranger walking by the hospital window, and stopping to watch; and reading these often beautiful poems, how quickly we are made strange, alive to ourselves.
A work of courage, humor, formal variation, and impressive intelligence. Brutally honest, these socially and politically engaged poems act as anodyne for trendy personal shorthand all too prevalent in contemporary American poetry.
Blue on Blue Ground boasts poetry that proves what the art is all about: burnished language and intense inspection of the human heart.
Aaron Smith is the author of three books of poetry: Primer, Appetite, and Blue on Blue Ground, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. His work has appeared in numerous publications including Ploughshares and Best American Poetry. A three-time finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, he is the recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Mass Cultural Council. He is associate professor of creative writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.learn more