Lytton Smith sound poem featured in online journal

“Dear World Service,” a new sound poem by Assistant Professor of English Lytton Smith, is included in the second issue of ythm, an audio journal of contemporary poetry. Written in response to Robyn Schiff’s “Death of a Salesman,” Smith’s poem is one of five audio-only poems in the issue. A podcast can be found via Soundcloud. The issue also features work by Katie Peterson, Michael Joseph Walsh, and Sheila McMullin.

Taking its name from Nathanial Mackey’s gloss of “ythm” as “anagrammatic myth” in his 1993 poetry collection School of Udhra, ythm is an argument that “the spoken voice is central to both the praxis and appreciation of contemporary poetry,” and central, in particular, to the American tradition.

ythm editor Sean Pears found Smith through the blog that Smith maintains for Geneseo students in Literature and Creative Writing, The Contemporary Poem. Responding in a comment to student Nicole Pero’s post about “breaking from sound” via Benjamin Franklin, which neatly synthesized themes from Geneseo’s Western Humanities courses and the Advanced Poetry Workshop, Smith suggested “isn’t sound a form itself?,” offering Karen Volkman’s sonnets from Nomina, published by Rochester-based BOA Editions, as an example.

Smith credits the English department’s transition to four-credit courses with creating the space in his classes to incorporate student blogging.


Lytton Smith and Jón Gnarr at UR bookstore April 23

Update (April 20, 2015 at 7:17 a.m.): Dr. Smith’s translation of The Indian has been praised as “beautifully translated” and “hypnotic and heartbreaking” in a pre-publication review by Michael Schaub of NPR Books. You can read an excerpt of The Indian here.

07_27_2014_525x825_indian4Professor Lytton Smith will appear at the University of Rochester bookstore this Thursday, April 23, at 6 p.m. with Jón Gnarr, former punk rocker, mayor of Reykjavík, sitcom star, and author of The Indian, which Smith has translated into English for publisher Deep Vellum.

There will be a conversation between Smith and Gnarr, a reading from the book, and a chance to ask questions. The event is free and open to the public.

192px-Jon-gnarr-2011-ffm-098The Indian is a novel/memoir of Gnarr’s uncomfortable childhood, telling in black humor his isolation and his misdiagnosis as backwards because of his severe dyslexia and ADHD. Subjected to constant bullying, young Gnarr sets his bedroom on fire (accidentally), tries to fit in by self-piercing his ears at a Grease-themed school dance, and attempts to sail across the Reykjavík bay, almost washed out into the ocean.

The Indian is the first novel in a trilogy on Gnarr’s youth, and resonates with young readers as much as with parents of children with emotional and learning issues; The Indian is taught in schools throughout Iceland, resonating with readers of all ages. The Indian is out May 5th and Deep Vellum will publish the full trilogy throughout 2015-2016.

SUNY Geneseo at Rochester Pub Fair

NewPubFairTile2This Saturday, September 13, The Rochester Visual Studies Workshop will host the second annual Pub Fair from noon to 7 p.m. in the VSW Auditorium at 31 Prince St. in Rochester.

Rochester Writers and Books will present Litsplosion at the Pub Fair, bringing together award-winning writers, emerging voices, regional talents, and local beer in its celebration of book arts.

smithljNew SUNY Geneseo English faculty member Lytton Smith will read from his poetry at 4:40 p.m., wrapping up a series of 10-minute readings that will begin at 2:00 p.m. with a reading by Gail Hosking and will include readings by Jon Palzer, Kitty Jospe, Ralph Black, Nick Alezza, Stevie Edwards, Nick Falck, Charlie Cote, Jacob Rakovan, Rachel McKibbens, Tom Fugalli, Kathryn Cowles, James Logenbach, and Christopher Kennedy.

SUNY Geneseo’s journal of SUNY-wide peer-reviewed creative writing, Gandy Dancer, will have a booth at Pub Fair. Hope to see you there!


New publication by Lytton Smith

smithljThe latest issue of international digital poetry magazine Rattapallax contains a feature on British poetry by new assistant professor of English Lytton Smith.

Introducing five emerging British poets, Prof. Smith argues that “The dynamism and excitement of British poetry emerges from its internationalism, its reckoning with a world beyond (and, strikingly, inside) its shores.”

Rattapallax #22 is available as a download from the iTunes store. You can read Prof. Smith’s introduction to the feature here.

English department welcomes new faculty

Lytton Smith

smithljPoet, critic, scholar, playwright, and translator Dr. Lytton Smith joins the department as Assistant Professor. He comes to us from the University of Hertfordshire, where he was Lecturer in Creative Writing. At Columbia University, he was awarded M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in English and Comparative Literature, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. He holds a B.A. in English from University College, London.

Professor Smith is the author of several collections of poetry, most recently While You Were Approaching the Spectacle and Before You Were Transformed By It (2013). His poetry has appeared in such places as The Atlantic, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Greensboro Review, Laurel Review, and Tin House. His collection The All-Purpose Magical Tent won the Nightboat Prize in 2008.

Professor Smith’s critical writings focus on citizenship as well as poetry; he has an essay forthcoming in the volume In the Air: The Poetry of Peter Gizzi (Wesleyan University Press) and writes a monthly column for the Los Angeles Review of Books. He has authored two plays, and he wrote and co-produced the 2007 film Howard’s Way, a documentary about the poet Richard Howard.

Professor Smith’s translations from Icelandic include Kristin Ómarsdóttir’s Children in Reindeer Woods (2012), Bragi Ólafsson’s The Ambassador (2010), and poems by Magnús Sigur∂sson.

At SUNY Geneseo, Professor Smith will teach classes on general creative writing, the writing of poetry, literature, and humanities.

Jess Fenn

fenn Dr. Jess R. Fenn joins the department as Lecturer. She was most recently Visiting Assistant Professor in Medieval Literature and Culture at Birkbeck College, School of Arts, University of London. She holds M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, where she specialized in the literature of late medieval England. She also holds an M.A.T. from Hollins University and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

Professor Fenn has published scholarly work on Geoffrey Chaucer in Studies in Philology (2013). Her short fiction has appeared in such places as Versal, PANK Magazine, and Flash: The International Short-Story Magazine. Her nonfiction work “Where We Went and What We Did There” won the Gulf Coast Prize in Nonfiction in 2013.

At SUNY Geneseo, Professor Fenn will teach courses on general creative writing, first-year writing, and literature. She will also direct the college’s interdisciplinary program in Medieval Studies.

Steve West

westsjStephen J. West (SUNY Geneseo ’02) joins the department as Lecturer. Professor West was most recently Instructor in English at West Virginia University. He holds M.A. and M.F.A. degrees in English from the University of Iowa. He graduated magna cum laude from Geneseo with B.A. degrees in English and Art Studio.

Professor West’s creative work has appeared in such places as Fugue, Wag’s Revue,, Spittoon, The Baltimore Review, PANK, and Prime Number Magazine. He has served as editor and columnist for THIS Literary Magazine

At SUNY Geneseo, Professor West will teach courses in general creative writing and literature. In addition, he will help oversee the department’s new requirement in self-reflective advising.

Irene Belyakov

Irene Belyakov has been Lecturer and Coordinator of the English as a Second Language program at SUNY Geneseo since 2000. As a new member of the English department, she will continue in these responsibilities.

Professor Belyakov teaches courses on ESOL and offers workshops through Geneseo’s Teaching and Learning Center to educate faculty and staff about second language development. As we recently reported, she is the recipient of the Harter Endowment for Faculty Mentoring Award.

Christopher Guyol

Dr. Christopher Guyol joins the department as Adjunct Lecturer in English. He holds B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in History, as well as a B.A. in Mathematics, from the University of Rochester, and an M.A. in Medieval History from the University of York. At SUNY Geneseo, Professor Guyol will teach courses in humanities.

Christopher Anderson

Christopher Anderson is a Ph.D. candidate in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. He holds M.A. and M.Div. degrees from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a B.A. from Grove City College. At SUNY Geneseo, he will teach courses in first-year writing.