Maggie Smith’s award-winning book of poetry about looking for goodness in the world features the viral poem “Good Bones,” named the “Official Poem of 2016” by Public Radio International.
Good Bones, the collection that took the internet by storm in 2017, is a collection of modern poetry that speaks to the world we live in. Maggie Smith contemplates the past and our future, life and death, childhood and motherhood. She writes out of the experience of motherhood, inspired by watching her own children read the world like a book they’ve just opened, knowing nothing of the characters or plot. Smith takes in the dark world around her with a critical eye, always searching for the hidden goodness: compassion, empathy, honesty. “There is a light,” she tells us, “and the light is good.”
Smith skillfully reveals the layers of the world around us through lyric language and vivid imagery: “For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird. / For every loved child, a child broken, bagged, / sunk in a lake.” These poems stare down darkness while cultivating and sustaining possibility and addressing a larger world. We come away from this collection hopeful about making the world a better place, a place to share with future generations. As Smith tells us in Good Bones, “This place could be beautiful, right? You could make this place beautiful.”
Good Bones was named one of Entropy’s “Best of 2017,” received the 2018 IPPY Award in Poetry, Gold, and was listed in the Washington Post’s “Best Poetry of 2017.” Praised for its “dynamically precise and vivid images, and [Smith’s] uncanny ability to find just the right word or action to crack open our known experience,” this book is much more than its title poem. This intimate poetry collection is meant for all of us, a way to explore the best and worst parts of our world.