A new book of poetry by Doug Smith leads readers down a path into his subconscious and shows his perceptions of one of the hardest topics for people to think about, death.
The writer recently released his newest collection of works called ‘Songs of Extinction,’ which focuses on death and the possible extinction of species.
“It’s hard to hold it (death) in one’s own mind,” he said. “So, I embarked upon the book in order to see what would come up in terms of poetic work if I held the thought of near-term extinction as a general theme.”
Smith said the project took him to some dark places but it only spurred his creativity to dive into the topic more.
He wrote on the back cover of the book, “as if I had managed to pass through the shadowland, accepting not only my own end but that of the bewildering species to which I belong.”
Smith started the collection last September and it was published in May of this year. He said he is very picky about his poetry and although the writing happened quickly, he always went back to double check everything and make sure it was how he wanted it.
“I might have to come back to it and revise, I tend to fuss right down to the kernel of a poem,” He said.
This is the sixth book of poetry Smith has published, his first being a collection called Spokes published in the 1980’s.
Smith joked about how his next steps in his writing career would be to bring him straight to the grave, very fitting considering the theme of the poems.
His previous professions include being an anthropologist, massage therapist, astrologer and homeopath. He said throughout his education and careers, poetry is something he’s come back to.
“It’s been an area of discourse that I would turn to again and again over a stretch of time. It must be from the mid-60s till now,” said Smith.
The vast amounts of freedom partnered with the dip into the imagination is why Smith keeps coming back.
“You have the greatest degree of freedom in organizing your narrative,” he said.