destination out—charles c. smith

ISBN: 9781988040394
Pub date: Spring 2018

destination out is a dark collection of poetry in three parts. The book tells of leavings: from family, countries of origin, legacies based on truth and rumour in small communities back home, and what happens after. Some poems depict artists full of so much that they reached beyond their bodies’ borders and ended up spread out on a table for final reckoning, or venturing into mad houses and brothels and gutters in wet snow. The collection also reveals elders, mystics, lovers, and seers who glimpsed shades of light and reached out to them, falling into the inexpressible and the unknown.

In destination out, charles smith reveals an exacting poetic clarity for the intensity of the moment, and a fine poetic ear for the lyrical. His lines, ‘you wove your experience / as at a loom / the yarn threaded theory / clothed spirit,’ might well be a statement of his own poetics. These poems journey with certainty across the solid ground of smith’s poignant yearning to know his father and his namesake brother who died just before smith’s birth; his celebration of the brilliance of US jazz artists against the racism meted out to them; and his horror at the violent and harrowing attacks on an ancient culture.” —Maureen Hynes, author of The Poison Colour

“The poems in destination out compel you to dive deep into shadows, witness the beauty there, while admiring the magnificence of nature.” —Dane Swan, author of A Mingus Lullaby 

“smith takes the reader on a lyrical, poetic hang-time experience roller coasting through the vastly deep infinite skies between childhood adventures, an estranged father, and a wayward young man’s rebirth, redemption, and adult-awakened confidence rooted in jumping, life-breathing jazz. This is more than imitation ragtime wolverine blues. These poems are tight, meticulously crafted, syncopated, and always invoking meaningful light. destination out is a true revelation and a must read!” —Michael Fraser, author of To Greet Yourself Arriving

“charles c. smith’s poetry is about walking ‘out of circumstance’ by people who know ‘first-hand / all the patterns of the darkness.’ It has the urgency of breath and the beauty of blood. The speaker in these poems recounts the journey of his family through time in a voice ‘deep as death.’ Smith’s poetic language is a fractured mirror held up to stories, defying the limits of observation.” —Bänoo Zan, author of Songs of Exile

“charles c. smith is a true poet: not only an artisan of rhythm and words, but a conjurer of the quiet voices who reside in liminal space. We hear in his works the pain of injustice and loss, the tragedies of the marginalized and near-forgotten, and the hope of redeeming history. Smith jars the reader out of the comfort zones of the warm and familiar and into the places that disquiet our hearts and minds. destination out is a brave work.”  —Dr. Georgia Wilder, lecturer/writing instructor, New College, University of Toronto

Photo: Bia Rohde

charles c. smith is a poet, playwright and essayist who has written and edited twelve books. He studied poetry and drama with William Packard, editor of the New York Quarterly Magazine, at New York University and Herbert Berghof Studios. He also studied drama at the Frank Silvera Writers’ Workshop in Harlem. He won second prize for his play Last Days for the Desperate from Black Theatre Canada, has edited three collections of poetry, has four published books of poetry, and his poetry has appeared in numerous journals and magazines.

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Meet Me in Halifax

Join us at the Halifax Central Library on Sunday, July 17 at 2pm for the second annual “Meet Me in… Writers on Rights’” human rights poetry event. Hosted by Tightrope Publisher Jim Nason and Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate, George Elliott Clarke, the event will feature readings related to human rights issues by acclaimed poets from some of Canada’s top independent publishers: Alice Burdick, Mark Callanan, Mary Dalton, Sheree Fitch, Michael Fraser, Carole Glasser Langille, Jennifer Houle, El Jones, Emily Pohl-Weary.

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Tightrope Spring 2016 Poetry Launch

spring fling

Tightrope launches 4 new poetry books in Toronto on National Poetry Month Eve!

Join us in celebrating Lara Bozabalian‘s Tourist, Lori Cayer’s Dopamine Blunder, Jan Conn’s Tomorrow’s Bright White Light and Michael Fraser’s To Greet Yourself Arriving.

Thursday, March 31, 7pm, Supermarket, 268 Augusta in Kensington Market.

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To Greet Yourself Arriving-Michael Fraser

To Greet Yourself WebISBN: 9781988040042
Pub date: Spring 2016

To Greet Yourself Arriving pays tribute to inspirational and illustrious figures throughout black history. A wide range of individuals such as activists, artists, and athletes are showcased in Michael Fraser’s powerful poetic portraits—Rosa Parks, Barack Obama, Harriet Tubman, Oscar Peterson, Oprah Winfrey, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and P.K. Subban. In his foreword to this groundbreaking collection, Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke writes, “Fraser gives us characters who, even if tortured by their experiences of “race” and/or racism, win through to a stardom that edges into heroism…”

 Praise for Michael Fraser’s work

“A new, exciting voice has emerged in Canada’s poetry scene. The poet blends his unique heritage—birth in Grenada, boyhood in Edmonton and teaching high school in Toronto—with an unerring eye and ear for contrast and detail. All of Fraser’s lines crackle with an energy fuelled by deep empathy and the ability to take language to the edge.”—Canadian Bookseller Magazine

 Praise for To Greet Yourself Arriving

“Fraser doesn’t just show his subjects with scars and flaws, gold stars and halos, but almost always with a generous, cinematic light.”–George Elliott Clarke, Canadian Parliamentary Poet Laureate and author of Whylah Falls

“The poems are revelatory, educative, and inspirational. They tell (or retell differently) stories of heroes—some admired, loved; but many unsung, forgotten… That this is a historically significant book is evident on every page.”—Mayank Bhatt, Generally About Books

“Fraser’s poetry provides rich pieces to share and consider. This is a collection that teachers should be teaching across the country.” —Jael Richardson, Toronto Star

“The poems in Fraser’s To Greet Yourself Arriving stand fiercely on their own as poems, tight and clear and clean, but as a chorus this book raises itself to a beautiful black sound.”—Michael Dennis, Today’s Book of Poetry

fraser pic

Photo by Krystyna Wesolowska

Michael Fraser is a Toronto high school teacher, poet, and writer. He has been published in various national and international journals and anthologies, including The Best Canadian Poetry in English, 2013. His manuscript, The Serenity of Stone, won the 2007 Canadian Aid Literary Award Contest and was published in 2008 by Bookland Press. He won the 2016 CBC Poetry Prize and was also the winner of  FreeFall‘s 2014 and 2015 poetry contests, Michael is the creator and former director of the Plasticine Poetry Series.

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