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Settling for Beauty

“John Smith’s poems have the strength of small, dense objects that are pleasing to the touch, like smooth stones with unique bumps and hollows. Even the briefest of them develop that inner momentum that propels the reader beyond the last line, through a door the poem has opened. Even, or maybe especially, the poems of sadness have largeness of spirit, and depth of inner vision. This is a strong and engaging book.”—Henry Taylor, 1986 Pulitzer Prize winner in poetry

“Though his subjects range from street preachers to old sweaters to collapsing barns, J.D. Smith is ultimately a poet of loss and longing. The poems in this volume examine with subtle, exhilarating skill the frustrations of romantic love, the beauties and degradation of nature, and the indescribable distances of God. These are brilliant poems, finely crafted and deceptively complex. I have long been an admirer of J.D. Smith’s work, and the poems in Settling for Beauty are his best yet.”—Kevin Prufer