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For this installment of an interview series with contemporary poets, Peter Mishler corresponded with Bruce Smith. Bruce Smith is the author of six books of poems. The Other Lover was a finalist for the Pulitzer and the National Book Award. Devotions, the winner of the William Carlos Williams Prize and finalist for National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and LA Times Book Award precedes his latest book, Spill. He teaches in the MFA program at Syracuse University. * Peter Mishler: I wonder if you’d be willing to conjecture what conversation Baraka, Dickinson, Stevens, and Herbert are participating in—the four poets whose lines comprise the four epigraphs you’ve included in your new collection Spill? Bruce Smith: Baraka, Dickinson, Stevens, and Herbert are four of the eight beats to the bar, the eight [!] justices on my Supreme Court, the eight forms of Shiva dancing, the eight players of my fantasy flag football team, the eight slices of my pie. The other four are Baldwin, Whitman, Jules Gibbs, and popular American music of the 20th


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