SEZ/everything speaks – Marcus Smith


Tuesday 27th January from 7pm – 9pm
The Shelton Room at the Seven Dials Club, 42 Earlham Street,

London WC2H 9LA

There will be a short performance by the Live Canon Ensemble
of poems from the collection at 7.45pm
Please RSVP to rsvp@livecanon.com




“SEZ/everything speaks is a series of immediate responses to what happens on the street, in offices, parties, riding a bus, the train, passing a storefront, overhearing a conversation, sending and receiving a text. SEZ was initially drafted on my iPhone and sent as texts to my wife.  Sometimes she prompted them (whether she intended to or not).  I began this manuscript in this way for immediacy, for catching life before it runs away to the next block, for recording responses before they disappear into another lost moment.” Marcus Smith



One shoe lying in the street.
Two tossed on the crosswalk.
More shoes leading to the bridge.
A path, a pattern, a confetti
Of lost, removed, discarded shoes –
Old pumps, new flats, heels, trainers,
Shoes without names, shoes I can’t name,
Shoes made for the future, shoes soon
From the past, shoes like spring petals,
Broken canes, cracked bones, shoes
Wrinkled as skin, buckles twisted, straps
Torn and snapped, tongues dried up,
Shoes heading to the tunnel, marching
Across the square, strolling around
The arcades, pausing along the esplanades,
Running and darting and scuffling
Through an alley to a dead-end pile
Of shoes.  Someone there, in shoes,
Looks back as if to find where are they­ –
The barefoot people – and follows
A fading footfall down the ramp
To a river of shoes carried off.


Marcus Smith was born in Oxford, England and lived in Buxton until he moved with his family to America.  After attending Williams College, Marcus received an MA at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was as a teaching fellow.  He taught poetry and fiction while completing the Great Books Program at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland and Santa Fe, New Mexico.  After serving as a staff writer for several local newspapers and as a stringer for New Musical Express in London, he was selected as a Merit Fellow in Vermont College’s MFA program

Marcus Smith

Marcus Smith: Featured Poet



Isabella Robbins

A child who doesn’t fit anyone’s mind,
I’m slow at mazes of letters and words,
And know numbers are strange elusive birds.
Tested, my soul proves ill-defined:

“Isabella Robbins, crayon a picture
Of how you dream.”
Purple for the twilight
In room with black box and window of white.
A stick figure stiffly watching the future –
I call it, “I hope I have a good day,”
Written in the teacher’s near-perfect hand.

The pain I draw is like a muted scream
I’ve hid so well no one can understand
How to help, or what to me help might mean.

Next week, in my room, I draw, “I go away.”




British/American poet Marcus Smith has been a finalist for The Cinnamon Press Book Competition and shortlisted twice for The Bridgport Prize. “Isabella Robbins” is from The Great-Great Grandchildren of Edward  Darley Boit, a manuscript that takes its name from John Singer Sargent’s perhaps most unconventional portrait, The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit. (The daughters never had children.) Poems in The Grandchildren… have appeared in Orbis, Envoi, HQ, Dark Horse, The Text, The Journal, Ambit, Weyfarers, Poetry Salzburg Review, Able Muse and Slant and received Plough and Poetry on the Lake prizes. SEZ/everything speaks is forthcoming with Live Canon, London.