a poetry e-zine










Robert Lavett Smith



A belief that heaven or an afterlife awaits

us is a “fairy story” for people afraid of death,

Stephen Hawking has said.

From an interview in The Guardian


Brilliance undimmed by long paralysis,

He lets the coldly soulless digital voice

Croak to the interviewer, has no choice

But state without emotion or hubris

Beliefs maligned as blasphemous in what is

A senseless century while faith deploys

Its arsenal of bigotry. The poise

Of galaxies sings in his mind, but this,

He is convinced, is not the voice of God.

Awareness, ultimate program, runs its course
And then is finished. For those who once trod
In the footsteps of prophets death was worse,

For its sheer numbness, even than the rod
Of tyrant priests. But darkness is the source.




Born in Michigan in 1957, Robert Lavett Smith grew up in northern New Jersey, in a suburb of New York. Since 1987, he has lived in San Francisco, where for the past thirteen years he has worked as a Special Education Paraprofessional for the San Francisco Unified School District. He holds an M.A. in creative writing from the University of New Hampshire, where he studied with Charles Simic and Mekeel McBride. In 1982, he studied with Galway Kinnell, as a member of the Master Class at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. He is the author of four small-press chapbooks, and most recently, of a full-length collection, Everything Moves With A Disfigured Grace (Alsop Review Press, 2006). All of these are free verse works. A collection of my sonnets, Smoke In Cold Weather, will hopefully be published by the Full Court Press some time this summer.

Copyright 2012  Chantarelle's Notebook