Portrait of Dr Simon Smith

Dr Simon Smith

Reader in Creative Writing


(BA, Kent; PhD, Glasgow)

Simon Smith is a poet, translator and essayist. He worked at The Poetry Library on the fifth floor of The Royal Festival Hall in London from 1991-2007, and was its Librarian from 2003 until 2007. He taught Creative Writing at London South Bank University where he devised and led the BA and MA, and at the Open University. He has taught at the University of Kent since 2006. 

Nine full-length collections have appeared: Fifteen ExitsReverdy RoadMercuryLondon Bridge11781 W. Sunset BoulevardMore Flowers Than You Could Possibly Carry: Selected Poems 1989-2012Day In, Day Outsome Municipal Love Poems and The Books of CatullusMercury was long-listed for the Costa Prize in 2007; in 2009 he was a Hawthornden Writing Fellow; and was a judge of the National Poetry Competition in 2004. 

He has written reviews and essays on poetry for Poetry Review and PN Review, and his poems and translations by Baudelaire, Reverdy, Martial and Catullus have appeared in New StatesmanPoetry ReviewPN Review and Stand. He has read his work to audiences in the UK, US, Canada and France. Since 2010 he has worked on collaborative poetry and music projects with Jamie Telford, David Herd, Sam Bailey, Jack Hues and The-Quartet, Matt Wright and Evan Parker. Broadcast in January 2020, Simon Smith took part in the Radio 4 programme 'In Our Time,' talking about Roman poet, Catullus.  

Research interests

  • Contemporary poetry: modernist, post-modernist;
  • poetic journals: Paul Blackburn, Joanne Kyger; 
  • translation: Catullus, Horace, Martial, Propertius, Baudelaire, Reverdy, Apollinaire, Rilke, Hölderlin; 
  • translation and translation theory; 
  • poetics. 


Projects supervised: Women’s poetry and elegy (received Faculty of Humanities Research Prize at the University of Kent); George Oppen and science.

Current Practice as Research PhD projects under supervision: Disability and Medical Humanities; Apocalyptical poetry and W S Graham; Poetries of Place: Charles Olson, David Jones, Laurie Duggan; German Poetry and Eco-Poetics; Performance, Concrete and Visual Poetry in the Gallery. 
Simon welcomes any proposals for similar Practice as Research PhD projects to those listed here, as well as, other topics, such as translation, prose poetry, poetics. 


Simon Smith has been external examiner at the universities of Bolton, Greenwich, Roehampton, UEL, Birkbeck, and externally examined MAs and PhDs at the universities of Bolton and Hertfordshire. He is a peer reviewer for NAWE.  


Showing 50 of 78 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • Smith, S. (2017). 10 Catullus translations. Free Verse: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry and Poetics [Online] Summer:1-12. Available at: http://freeversethejournal.org/portfolio-item/free-verse-issue-28-summer-2017/.
    special supplement to Issue 28 Summer 2017
  • Smith, S. (2015). From ZEROFOURZEROFIVEZEROSIXTWENTYTWELVE. Molly Bloom [Online]:1-5. Available at: http://mollybloompoetry.weebly.com/simon-smith.html.
    Five poems
  • Smith, S. (2015). Six Encounters. Junction Box [Online]:1-6. Available at: http://glasfrynproject.org.uk/w/3506/felicity-allen-and-simon-smith-six-encounters-london-and-ramsgate/.
    Six poems by Simon Smith with six watercolour paintings by Felicity Allen. Online publication only.
  • Smith, S. (2015). Four poems from Navy. Tears in the Fence:7-11.
    Four poems
  • Smith, S. (2015). Four poems from ZEROFOURZEROFIVEZEROSIXTWENTYTWELVE. Shearsman Summer:52-54.
    Four poems
  • Smith, S. (2014). One poem from Salon Noir. Litmus Magazine [Online]:28-31. Available at: http:/www.litmuspublishing.co.uk.
    One poem
  • Smith, S. (2013). Locale. New Statesman [Online] 2013:1-2. Available at: http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/07/locale.
    One poem
  • Smith, S. (2013). Two poems from ZEROFOURZEROFIVEZEROSIXTWENTYTWELVE. Cordite Poetry Review [Online]:1-2. Available at: http://cordite.org.au/tags/simon-smith/.
    Two poems
  • Smith, S. (2013). Four poems from Half a Dozen Just Like You. Molly Bloom [Online] 2:1-4. Available at: http://mollybloompoetry1.weebly.com/simon-smith.html.
  • Smith, S. (2013). Three poems from Half a dozen just like you. Shearsman:77-80.
    Three poems
  • Smith, S. (2013). from ZEROSEVEN. ZONE:78-80.
    One poem
  • Smith, S. (2012). Eleven poems from 11781 W. Sunset Boulevard. Shearsman:32-37.
    Eleven poems
  • Smith, S. (2012). One poem from Half a Dozen Just Like You. Tears in the Fence:13-14.
    One poem
  • Smith, S. (2012). Three poems from Gravesend. Fence 15:87-89.
    Three poems
  • Smith, S. (2012). News of the World: A Stone Dog by Aidan Semmens. Tears in the Fence:120-122.
    Review of A Stone Dog
  • Smith, S. (2012). Four poems from 11781 W. Sunset Boulevard. OR:15-15.
    Four poems
  • Smith, S. (2011). Four poems from Gravesend. Tears in the Fence:98-99.
    Four poems
  • Smith, S. (2011). Learning to Mourn: Penelope Shuttle, Kamau Brathwaite, Christopher Middleton. Poetry Review 101:100-104.
  • Smith, S. and Murphy, R. (2010). Three poems from CONTENT. Likestarlings [Online]:1-6. Available at: http://www.likestarlings.com/poems/simon-smith-ryan-murphy/#1.
  • Smith, S. (2009). Catullus Poems 107 and 109. Vanitas:28-28.
    Translations from the LATIN
  • Smith, S. (2009). Two poems from the Latin of Catullus, 65 and 66. PN Review 35:58-59.
    Two poems from the LATIN
  • Smith, S. (2008). The Flâneur: Catullus, Martial and Frank O’Hara. PN Review 35:54.
    In her book Translating Words, Translating Cultures (Duckworth, 2000) Lorna Hardwick broadens the traditional idea of translation to include

    interpretation of the wider meaning of the source text, both in its own time and for later readers. This aspect raises big questions about how the translator/writer views the relationship between ancient and modern, not just in terms of language but also in terms of values and ideas. The relationship between the two texts is also shaped by the readers or audience, who receive the new version and in turn give it their meaning. (p. 10)

    Hardwick's book provides a necessary map and much of interest; however, there are more radical ways of thinking about the process of translation. One such way might be to examine cultural, theoretical and philosophical equivalences (or differences) between works of translation now undertaken in the early twenty-first century, and poems and their contexts from the Roman world.
  • Smith, S. (2008). Close up: Blank Verse and the Conversational Poem. Poetry News 2008:4-4.
  • Smith, S. (2007). Two poems by Catullus translated by Simon Smith. fragmente:54-64.
    Two poems from the Latin


  • Smith, S., Herd, D., Bailey, S. and Hues, J. (2017). ROTE-Thru. [CD].
    sound recording of music and poetry by Simon Smith, David Herd, Jack Hues and The Quartet


  • Smith, S. (2018). Some Municipal Love Poems. Colchester, UK: Muscaliet Press.
    book of poems
  • Smith, S. (2018). Day In, Day Out. [Online]. Anderson, USA: Parlor Press. Available at: https://www.parlorpress.com/freeverse/simonsmith.
    book of journal poems
  • Smith, S. (2016). More Flowers Than You Could Possibly Carry: Selected Poems 1989-2012. Bristol, UK: Shearsman Books.
    Selected poems
  • Smith, S. (2016). Salon Noir. Cambridge, UK: Equipage.
    a book of poems
  • Smith, S. (2015). Half a Dozen Just Like You. [Online]. Hunstanton: Oystercatcher Press. Available at: http://www.oystercatcherpress.com/ssmith.html.
  • Smith, S. (2015). Navy. Ramsgate: Verisimilitude.
  • Smith, S. (2014). 11781 W. Sunset Boulevard. [Online]. Bristol, UK: Shearsman Books. Available at: https://www.shearsman.com/store/Simon-Smith-11781-W-Sunset-Boulevard-p102839146.
  • Smith, S. (2012). Carmen LXIV. [Online]. Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside: Knives Forks and Spoons Press. Available at: http://www.knivesforksandspoonspress.co.uk/carmenlxiv.html.
  • Smith, S. (2012). 25 Poems by Catullus. Cheltenham: Gratton Street Irregulars.
  • Smith, S. (2011). Gravesend. [Online]. London: Veer Books. Available at: http://www.veerbooks.com/Simon-Smith-Gravesend.
  • Smith, S. (2010). London Bridge. Cambridge: Salt Publishing.
    London Bridge, Simon Smith's fourth collection of poetry, is an accessible, funny and immediate book of poems about life in the City amidst the contingent camera-shake and confusions of the everyday. The book concentrates on the experience of living in London - a book which is accessible, contemporary and sassy.
  • Smith, S. (2009). Browning Variations. Norwich: Landfill.

Book section

  • Smith, S. (2018). 1 poem in The World Speaking Back . . . To Denise Riley. In: Lohoczky, A. and Skoulding, Z. eds. The World Speaking Back. : To Denise Riley. Norwich, UK: Boiler House Press, p. 20 to 23. Available at: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/the-world-speaking-back-to-denise,anges-lehoczky-zoe-skoulding-nathan-9781911343394.
    Tribute volime to Denise Riley on her 70th Birthday
  • Smith, S. (2017). Fugue and Subterfuge. In: Wood, N. ed. Fugue & Subterfuge: A Festschrift for Alan Halsey. Goat’s Head Press, pp. 50-52. Available at: http://www.westhousebooks.co.uk/showbook.asp?id=2182.
    A Tribute volume for Alan Halsey
  • Smith, S. (2015). Reading Blackburn Reading Olson: Paul Blackburn Reads Olson’s ’Maximus, to Gloucester: Letter 15’. In: Herd, D. ed. Contemporary Olson. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. 103-112. Available at: http://www.manchesteruniversitypress.co.uk/9780719089718/.
  • Smith, S. (2015). Beached here at random by mysterious forces: fifty years of poetry at the University of Kent. In: Hickman, B. and Montefiore, J. E. eds. Beached Here at Random by Mysterious Forces: Fifty Years of Poetry at the University of Kent. 2015: University of Kent.
    One poem, 'Poem 51,' by Catullus included.
  • Smith, S. (2014). Manston one poem. In: Blamires, A. and Robinson, P. eds. The Arts of Peace: An Anthology of Poetry. Reading: Two Rivers Press, pp. 32-33.
    One poem
  • Smith, S. and Allen, F. (2013). Textual Intimacies: Letters, Journals, Poetry – Ghost Writing Telegraph Cottage. In: Cooke, J. ed. Scenes of Intimacy: Reading, Writing and Theorizing Contemporary Literature. New York and London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 73-94.
  • Smith, S. (2013). Chromosome 7: An Elegy. In: Lehane, D. and Cleghorn, E. eds. Sequences and Pathogens: An Anthology of Poems and Reflections. London: Litmus Publishing, pp. 14-19.
    One poem
  • Smith, S. (2008). Nine poems from Night Shift. In: Hilson, J. ed. The Reality Street Book of Sonnets. Hastings: Reality Street, pp. 261-265.
    Nine poems

Edited book

  • Smith, S. (2018). The Books of Catullus. [Online]. Smith, S. ed. Manchester, UK: Carcanet. Available at: https://www.carcanet.co.uk/cgi-bin/indexer?product=9781784105525.
    Full length translation into English of the Latin poet Catullus

Internet publication

  • Smith, S. (2012). World Poetry Portfolio #31: Simon Smith [Online magazine]. Available at: http://www.molossus.co/worldpoetryportfolio/world-poetry-portfolio-31-simon-smith/.
    Portfolio published on the online broadside of world literature 'Molossus'.
    This international anthology includes poems from two sequences: Gravesend and Odes. Both sequences are poetic inquiries into the linguistic implications of alienation for the speaking subject in specific physical circumstances and political contexts. In the case of the former sequence the train journey between Chatham and Charing Cross shapes and informs the expression of the poems; in the latter, the poems are addressed to specific individuals, addressing associated issues of alienation around the city (London) and politics as filtered through the media at the time of first Arab Spring uprisings. The writing is, therefore, grounded in practical and theoretical research. The physical ‘site’ of the poetry in Gravesend takes its orientation from specific commuting up and down the railway line, note taking, and using the ‘poetic eye’ as a kind of camera, so the poems are sited somewhere between reportage and registering the impact of sensory data on the speaking subject. In Odes, poems addressed to specific individuals use that moment of utterance as occasion to apprehend the same process. The theoretical research has taken the form of extensive reading in philosophical and psychoanalytical approaches regarding the relation of the state to industrialization and the media to fractured subjectivity, and the works of Walter Benjamin on Baudelaire and Jacques Lacan on subjectivity are ever present. Benjamin’s Illuminations even peeks from a knapsack in the poem ‘Lewisham’. For Jeremy Noel-Tod (poetry reviewer for The Telegraph), noting the international impact of Gravesend, ‘Smith is one of the most exciting poets writing in England: if it weren’t for the sweet Thames and the Little Chefs, he might pass for an American.’;


  • MacKay, D. (2017). Speaking Beyond Words: George Oppen’s Late Poetry As an Exploration of Cognition.
    The Creative component of this submission is a poem series entitled [Happenstance].
    Written within the frame of the middle period of the research process at a rate of approximately one per week for a year, each poem focuses on the research preoccupations of the moment as they infiltrate daily life. They have the deliberate intent of mixing literary critical with cognitive scientific language as content, of blending these discourses with the every day, and of balancing the spontaneity of conversational tone with a deliberation of poetic language, all within an open field format. The focus is on writing as an enactment of cognition, the process made manifest, a practice that parallels the later work of American poet George Oppen. The gripe that Oppen expressed against 'poems with too much point' is explored, being both subverted and validated through the speculatively propositional.

    The Analytical component focuses on the poetry of Oppen's last three collections: Seascape Needle's Eye (1972), Myth of the Blaze (1975), and Primitive (1978); alongside his published correspondence, his published notes, and the opinions of his principal literary critics. The discussion seeks to identify the evidence for, and consequences of, Oppen's preoccupation with matters of cognition in the final decade of his writing life. Correlations are sought between Oppen's own understanding of the relationship between experience, meaning, and language, and the insights gleaned into these processes from the subsequent four decades of research in cognitive linguistics, cognitive psychology, and the neurosciences. Oppen returned to writing in the late 1950s under the influence particularly of ideas gleaned from Jacques Maritain. To these were added the phenomenological influence of Martin Heidegger and Georg W.F. Hegel's reflections on speculative thinking. Also of significance in initiating Oppen's inward turn in poetic process was the disruptive emotional impact of his Pulitzer
    Prize recognition of 1969. Oppen's experience suggests that where cognitive studies and poetics meet may be ground in which new conceptual and aesthetic possibilities for poetry emerge. At its simplest we may ask whether Oppen's personal insights as recorded through his poems, notes and correspondence remain valid in the light of modern day cognitive sciences, rather than merely for their historical interest and, if the former, what they might continue to teach a contemporary poet such as myself.
  • Perry, E. (2016). Women & Elegy: Towards Destructuring Economies of Loss and Reconfiguring Elegiac Tradition.
    This thesis investigates—and seeks to address—the excision, marginalization and sequestering of female work within the elegiac tradition. Beginning with an analysis of key texts in elegy scholarship from the last thirty years, and the ways in which they participate in—and perpetuate—this marginalization, the thesis develops a transhistorical sketch of the elegiac tradition. This sketch examines the evolution of elegy as a genre, outlining Western cultural frameworks for understanding mourning, and historical perspectives which consider grief expression as a threat requiring constraint; as well as significant shifts in medical, theological and philosophical conceptions of melancholy—in order to delineate how and why women’s elegiac work has been marginalized within the traditional canon. This includes an in-depth critique and analysis of Freud’s 1917 paper ‘Mourning and Melancholia,’ upon which much of current elegy scholarship depends, approaching both the gendered binary within Freud’s model, and the framework of economics which he uses to illustrate this model. This analysis is then extended through the post-Freudian work of Irigaray and Kristeva, as well as subsequent feminist thinkers, in order to question how we might begin to rectify the marginalization of female work without effacing the contexts within which it has been marginalized. These ideas are then extended and developed through the close reading of contemporary elegies by Susan Howe, Kristin Prevallet, Anne Carson, Maggie O’Sullivan and Claudia Rankine, investigating, among other things, erasure; resistance to closure; error and failure; disruption of reading practices; lyric instability and possibilities of shared grief. The length of the critical section of the thesis and extensive use of footnotes have both been agreed with my supervisory team on account of the scope of the project, and the examples required to demonstrate its argument. The critical section is followed by a collection of poetry made up of four interrelated sequences. These sequences seek to continue the arguments raised in the thesis, and reflect on the research demonstrated therein, specifically interrogating master narratives such as language, myth and history, in order to question notions of lament and pastoral; exploring the limits of the lyric and the possibility of speaking with, rather than speaking for an other; and the poential for harm within processes of textual recovery and memorialization.


  • Smith, S. (2019). Municipal Love Poems. Bristol, UK: Shearsman Books.
    a book of poetry
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