Friday, 21 February 2020

Matthew M C Smith

Matthew M C Smith is a Welsh writer from Swansea. He is published in Icefloe Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, Other Terrain, Back Story, Seventh Quarryand Wellington Street Review. Matthew is the editor of Black Bough Poetry. Twitter: @MatthewMCSmith & @BlackBoughPoems Facebook: MattMCSmith & Black Bough Poetry. His debut collection ‘Origin: 21 Poems’ is available on Amazon.

What book(s) are you reading right now?

I’m reading Underland by Robert Macfarlane for the second time in preparation to edit the next edition of Black Bough poetry. This is a staggeringly erudite work by the award-winning English writer and Professor, who writes about place, nature, conservation and cultural heritage. He discusses ‘Deep Time’, which is the theme of the next Black Bough edition and something I am exploring in my own writing.

A book you loved reading at a child. 

As a six-year old, I carried around with me the pocket illustrated classic of Oliver Twist. My mother and aunt were taken aback one day when I started to recite the whole book. I can still see many of the illustrations in my mind. My memory isn’t totally amazing so that book must have made an impression on me.

A book you have read more than once. 

This would have to be Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness, which I’ve read at least a dozen times. This, for me, is the most compelling fictional work I’ve ever read, although if you asked me another day I’d probably say Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, which I think I’ve read four times. Conrad’s command of the English language (not his first language) puts most of us to shame and the scenes before and in Africa, the building tension, show a writer at the top of their game. I love Apocalypse Now, which is a deeply-moving, disturbing cinematic reinterpretation. Marlon Brando as Kurtz!

Your favourite anthology.

I’m going to say The Lonely Crowd although this is very hard to choose as there are so many. This is a Welsh press that publishes mixed anthologies of poetry and prose. The pieces that are chosen, in my opinion, show really strong literary execution. Imagery, precision and freshness are really evident and you get the impression that the selection and editing is done very carefully. It’s run by John Lavin and I’d urge people to check it out.

A book yet-to-be-released which you are looking forward to reading. 

I’m really looking forward to C. Aloysius Mariotti’s Scream into my Mouth as a Waterfall. I’ve read a PDF of the poetry collection for reviewing, and it’s immediately striking because of the artwork by Mathew Yates and Stuart Buck; the writing by this American writer blew my mind. I want a physical copy in my hands and to go to a café on my own for a couple of hours. The work is out with Rhythm and Bones Press and is edited by Tianna G. Hansen.

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