Zac Smith Press Page

50 Barn Poems

Book details
Publisher: CLASH Books
Formats: Paperback, eBook
ISBN-13: 978-1-944866-60-0
Retail Price: $12.95 (paperback)
Publisher Contact: CLASH Website // e-mail // CLASH Twitter
Author Contact: Author Website // e-mail // Author Twitter
Representation: Giacomo Pope at Flat Dog City Representation

Consisting of fifty barn poems, 50 Barn Poems is an evocative yet accessible sketch of that old barn that haunts the back of your brain. Vague memories of road trips, skateboarding, the ocean, and ping-pong are all reconstructed in the shape of a barn and set on fire. We're not even sure they're poems. Maybe they are just: BARN. Go ahead, take off your shoes and drive off a cliff. The barn awaits.

Advance Praise for 50 Barn Poems

"Zesty. This book zings. Ever surprising, ever brilliant, Zac Smith is the David Shrigley of poetry...[50 Barn Poems is] funniest book of poems ever written."
- Lars Iyer, author of Spurious and Nietzsche and the Burbs

"A fun exploration of the power of arbitrary constraints, with Brautiganesque, perverse humor. I now know as little about barns as I did before."
- Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields

"50 Barn Poems seems like it's making fun of barns, or poems, or poets, or books. I like that about it."
- Elizabeth Ellen, author of Elizabeth Ellen

"They said it couldn’t be done, but Zac Smith has written fifty wondrously deranged and highly entertaining poems about barns. Maybe it's like Animal Farm for degenerates, or maybe it's unlike anything you've ever read before. Maybe it’s beautiful."
- Brian Alan Ellis, author of Sad Laughter

"50 Barn Poems is one of the most fun collections I've ever read… down-to-earth poems that are simply delightful, often beautiful, and occasionally downright brutal – in a heavy metal sort of way."
- Benjamin DeVos, author of Human Fish and The Bar is Low

"Unsentimental but somehow moving, funny without being cynical, these poems are the barn. They're everywhere and nowhere, utilitarian and excessive, like all beautiful structures."
- Lindsay Lerman, author of I'm From Nowhere

"While reading this book, I got the feeling that Zac Smith had a lot of fun writing these poems. I got the feeling that he drank a lot of coffee and let his imagination lead him. I think that's beautiful. He is winning the war against adulthood. Zac Smith will never sell out."
- Blake Middleton, author of College Novel

"With 50 Barn Poems, Zac Smith harvests a bountiful collection that will sustain you with infinite laughter, surreal revelations and poignant truths."
- Mike Andrelczyk, author of The Iguana Green City and Other Poems

"All the facets of life can be found inside a barn if only one were to look through Zac's glasses."
- Cavin B. Gonzalez, author of I Could Be Your Neighbor, Isn’t that Horrifying?

"These poems fall across America with their heavy beams and flaking paint. Zac Smith has captured absurdity with empathy and humour in a collection that feels wholly contemporary."
- Giacomo Pope, founder of Neutral Spaces and author of 50 Barn Blurbs

Reviews & Interviews

Barn Chat: Interview with Elizabeth Ellen (and others) on Neutral Spaces

50 Barn Poems Official Trailer

Author Photos

Author Photo 1 Author Photo 3
Photo Credit: Eric Quesada

Author Bios

[50-word] Zac Smith is the author of 50 Barn Poems (CLASH Books, 2019). His stories and poems have appeared in online in places like Hobart, Maudlin House, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, and other cool websites. He lives in Boston, where he likes to walk his dogs.

[90-word] Zac Smith lives and works in Boston, MA. His work has appeared in various printed zines and online in places like Hobart, Maudlin House, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, and other cool websites. He is also the managing editor of Back Patio Press, which publishes small-batch books of literary fiction and poetry. Smith's writing hasn't won any awards, and, to be honest, he probably hasn't even applied for any.

Sample Q&A with the Author

Q: You mix both realistic and surreal imagery relating to barns, from specific barns to imaginary barns to barns as metaphor, or something. What is your relationship to, or with, barns?
A: I do not feel any deep emotional ties to barns, so the lack of connection allowed me to let barns be anything. The barn became an anchor for me dredging up feelings and thoughts from my past, and when I started digging into my memories of barns, I started digging into the broader, weirder images that sort of live inconspicuously in the background of my brain: road trips, haircuts, skateboarding, the ocean, childhood art projects, all kinds of stuff. To that end, I think a lot of writing is about trying to communicate as clearly as possible, but knowing that I could not and would not be able to clearly articulate these impressions forced me to lean into their surreal character – the barn became a thing I could apply my own meaning to, and repurpose for the reader. We all have our own barns, even if they’re not barns in any real way.

Q: Why fifty barn poems? Why barns? Why poems?
A: I decided to make this book of fifty barn poems because I know very little about barns and I know very little about poetry. I have very few real barn experiences or even barn opinions. And I don’t know much about poetry in any formal way – I don’t know the terms, I don’t know the history or purpose of the forms, and I would not feel comfortable discussing or analyzing poetry in any rigorous way. So, once I really started, I viewed it as a challenge to write a highish number of things I do not understand about things I do not understand.

Q: These poems are, with a few exceptions, very short and casual, even though the subject matter is often strange and dreamlike. What were you hoping to achieve, stylistically, with this collection?
A: My favorite poetry is more contemporary poetry that pushes back on formality and embraces a more conversational, personal tone. I was, and am, attracted to the idea of poetry that does not feel like it is trying to be important, clever, impressive, etc. in a formal way but in a simple, direct way. Also, in my experience with poetry (and writing in general), cutting as much as possible is absolutely necessary – I think the shorter the poem, the more evocative it can be. You can give the reader a frame of reference, but you don’t have to tell them where to look. So, in short, I wanted to explore very short poems that subverted even themselves, that felt like they didn’t even want to be poems.