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November 28, 2018 / barton smock

{ Dd. Spungin’s review of Ghost Arson }

monster thanks to Dd. Spungin for this review of my collection Ghost Arson:

Experiencing Barton Smock’s poetry is similar to living in a foreign country long enough to begin to understand the language.

Smock’s language is always intriguing, often foreign, more often brilliant in its ability to put images and concepts in the reader’s unsuspecting mind.

Certain poems/passages all but announce their meanings, as this from Gameshow Fatalities:

“see one of my children worrying less about suicide
and more about where it should happen. see: tub. see: easier
for a mother to clean.”

And some slide an idea into your consciousness such as this from Untitled:

is a doll
a menu, memorizing
a license plate

and doll
the first
eating disorder
in space”

Smock can shock, as well. Here, from Gestural Transportation, this standout stanza:

“the bread crumbs were eaten not by birds but by a
starving boy with a lost voice who’d wandered from his
home in a delirium brought on by a toothache. also,
Hansel & Gretel were two rich kids who killed someone’s

The ethereal makes an appearance in the poem, Snow:

“say even god / would leave / this church

to step on the bones of a star”

Smock uses familiar subjects in much of his poetry: parents, siblings, children, but they are traveling in places that always surprise and make the reader stretch; it is a stretch most worthy of the effort.

To read these poems is a journey into a new art, and a privilege for the reader.

~ Dd. Spungin


Ghost Arson is due out from Kung Fu Treachery Press in December of 2018.

Current copies are 15.00 and can be purchased via paypal to or by using link:

*be sure to include your address in the notes field
**all copies will be signed

or one can send a check to:

Barton Smock
5155 Hatfield Drive
Columbus, OH 43232

if interested in reviewing, contact me at

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