Elizabeth Hazen Interviews Dean Smith, Author of Baltimore Sons
Elizabeth Hazen sits down with fellow Baltimore poet Dean Smith for the Baltimore Fishbowl
"Dean Bartoli Smith’s second poetry collection, Baltimore Sons, paints a brutally honest portrait of Charm City – a place bursting with personality and charm, but also marred by poverty and violence. In these poems, readers will find neighborhoods filled with vibrant people who, along with the city itself, have shaped the speaker’s perspective.
Smith’s poems range from snapshots of childhood pastimes and homages to iconic Baltimoreans to missives about gun violence and even poems from the weapons’ perspectives. Despite the grit and realism in his work, Smith never despairs, instead highlighting the humanity that ultimately redeems the city and its residents. According to Smith, 'No one really knows what to make of native Baltimoreans. The city remains a wildcard that’s hard to define,' but through these poems, Smith has certainly given us a powerful representation.
A Baltimore native with a background in reporting and a journalistic eye for detail, Smith has written a collection that is accessible, heartbreaking, and 'the most painful love letter I’ve ever written.'"
Along the indifferent corridors / of space, angels could be hiding,” Linda Pastan wrote in her poem “Muse.” ASP honors the legacy of Linda Pastan (1932–2023), a former Poet Laureate of Maryland, who passed away last week. Pastan was the author of the 2018 poetry book A Dog Runs Through It, which won the Towson University Literary Award.
2022 was a big year for ASP and our writers. In March, we had a booth at the annual AWP Conference, and our offsite reading, featuring authors Saida Agostini, Dave Housley, Elizabeth Hazen, and Richard Peabody, along with special guests Teri Ellen Cross Davis and Leslie Pietrzyk, had a standing-room-only audience packed with literary stars.