Jim Smith moved from his birthplace, Niagara Falls, to Kingston in 1952. He started writing seriously in Grade 8 in 1963. His first published story earned him $5 from West Coast Review in 1972. His magazine, The Front, lasted from about 1972 to 1980, and the spinoff Front Press published books and pamphlets in the ’80s by writers like David McFadden, bpNichol, Wayne Clifford and Stuart Ross. Between 1979 and 1998, Smith published about half a dozen books of poetry, plus a number of chapbooks and ephemera. In the mid-’90s he diverted himself to law, and has been a civil litigator for the last decade. His Mansfield books are Back Off, Assassin! New and Selected Poems (2009) and Happy Birthday, Nicanor Parra. He continues to live and write in Toronto.
“The strength of Smith’s poetry is in his ability to yoke wildly divergent extremes by sheer force of will, asserting that even trivial preoccupations are symptomatic of larger injustices. In this way, his absurdism constantly points to the world.” — Kirstie McCallum, Fiddlehead
“After a slow, cover-to-cover exploration of the many canyons of Smith’s memory, one becomes certain that one has encountered an entirely singular personality, the way in which all great poets have found the sacred way to express themselves and no other.” — Spencer Gordon, Dangerous Literature
“This is not a comfortable book. You won’t find many places to sit and relax, breathe purer air, calm yourself. Smith’s rancor and scornful guffaw can remind one of Jimmy Porter’s verbal tirades in Look Back in Anger.” — Patricia Keeney, ARC
“Fucking good poet!” — Javier Cercas, author of Soldiers of Salamis