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Barton Smock lives in Columbus, OH, with his wife and four children.

Author of Ghost Arson (Kung Fu Treachery Press, Dec 2018)

You be quiet, and I'll be quiet. Separation will look the same. It's just art. It's enough as is. But...I do want to throw some magic toward those who either share it, buy it, or put a word to it. Or, do all three. It's what I try, also, to do. Notice isn't holy. But letting one know, is.


(pay what you want):

Animal Masks On the Floor of the Ocean, 124 pages
poems, June 2019
can be purchased via paypal (
or Venmo @Barton-Smock-2
or CashApp $BartonSmock

poems, June 2019
can be purchased via paypal (
or Venmo @Barton-Smock-2
or CashApp $BartonSmock

an old idea one had of stars, 58 pages
poems, February 2020
can be purchased via paypal (
or Venmo @Barton-Smock-2
or CashApp $BartonSmock

rocks have the softest shadows, 237 pages
poems, Dec 2020
can be purchased via paypal (
or Venmo: @Barton-Smock-2
or CashApp: $BartonSmock

untouched in the capital of soon, 187 pages
poems, Sept 2021
can be purchased via paypal (
or Venmo: @Barton-Smock-2
or CashApp: $BartonSmock

blood to bathe us in its blue past, 217 pages
poems new and selected, May 2022
can be purchased via paypal (
or Venmo: @Barton-Smock-2
or CashApp: $BartonSmock

apartures, 125 pages
poems, January 2023
can be purchased via paypal (
or Venmo: @Barton-Smock-2
or CashApp: $BartonSmock

*All collections are pay what you want, BUT be sure to include your mailing address in the comments of the order, and ALSO be kind...for instance, if you are ordering 100+ page book of poems, like, $4.00 is probably not a kindness. Also, all my work is posted online on this blog for free.

Any questions, including inquiring about a free copy or free PDF due to financial circumstances, can be directed to



The work of Barton Smock, a prolific mid-western poet, modifies the meaning of Christian Wiman’s idea in that it seeks unceasingly for the spaces between those ‘annihilative silence[s]’ that would pursue us, and for the watchful reader opens some door into human experience in a way that is at once intensely personal and detached. Through the manipulation of both common and cerebral language Smock’s poems maintain a dance between the familiar and the unspeakable. They act as a shout to the silences that curl up in experience- offering some view from the inside of that experience, but never in an expected way.

…The themes of family, abuse, poverty, and alienation figure heavily in the book, but to call this confessional poetry seems a bit out of keeping with what is traditionally considered confessional. He speaks of mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers while also utilizing the first person, but the reader can never be exactly sure who these characters are. They are changeable, and often engaging in nearly surreal activity that might confuse more than enlighten. The key seems to be finding some language to quantify suffering, or some way of qualifying experience out of context - which at moments brings it ever more sharply into sight…

…Smock has found a way to speak for those who don’t perhaps know that they have something important to say; to share. The marginalized child, the grieving mother, the ailing child or sibling- they will all find a voice here, and though it might not be the way they would voice the affliction that rests within them, they are sure to recognize their faces. Whether this is a burden or a blessing remains a judgment to be formed by the individual reader, but I find the be full of the intensity of experience in a way that I can’t help but identify and empathize. Something preserved so as not to be forgotten, and perhaps repeated.

~Emma Hall

Speaking of being captivated, when I was in Cleveland’s most exciting new independent bookstore, Guide to Kulchur, I picked up on a whim a few small volumes that appeared to have been published by the author using Lulu. I was so entranced by the seemingly simple but endlessly complex, prickly lyrics that I wrote to the author, Barton Smock, through his blog, He’s been sending me books now and then and his latest, Eating the Animal Back to Life, is just knocking me out. These poems are desperate, tender, wry, alarmed, god-obsessed, and musically driven. Smock is not published by others, he does it all himself...

All the advanced degrees and publishing credentials in the world can’t get you the unspeakable duende that Smock somehow taps into, poem after poem. 

~Kazim Ali, from THIS


some answers:

My Small Press Writing Day

interview by Crystal Stone for Flyway Journal

interview at The Collidescope

interview at Fevers of the Mind

interview by Benjamin Niespodziany at neonpajamas



Collections at GUMROAD




Leave a Comment
  1. Melissa Fry Beasley / Mar 27 2013 5:39 pm

    Thanks for checking out my blog and for the follow, i’m following you now as well. BeWare and Be Warned. lol ~ Mel

  2. anna mosca / Jun 25 2013 10:19 pm

    Thanks for the follow. Be aware please my blog is a bilingual one. So you may get links to some poems in English as well as to some in Italian. When you do not know the language just ignore the message, please. I’m trying to keep the posting balanced between the two languages. Anna

  3. Donna J Snyder / Jun 3 2015 2:39 pm


  4. xu / Dec 24 2015 3:09 pm

    your writing is absolutely beautiful

    • barton smock / Dec 24 2015 3:13 pm

      thanks for taking the time. means the world.

  5. J. K. / May 25 2016 3:33 pm

    Your poetry is one of my favorite things to pop up in my feed. Thank you for the day brighteners, and I wish you fortune in any future endeavors you have!

  6. barton smock / Nov 15 2021 12:17 pm

    so so kind. most of writing is apologizing, ha. all the thanks!


  1. {pictures of god don’t sell} | kingsoftrain
  2. on [rocks have the softest shadows] by Barton Smock | dirtysacred

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