The shades that R. T. Smith summons here are the dead. They range from historical figures to pop culture icons to country people. Some of them Smith knew as a kid or knew recently as a retiree living on Timber Ridge in Rockbridge County, Virginia. For more than two decades, Smith was writer-in-resident at Washington and Lee University nearby, and served as editor of Shenandoah, one of the region’s finest literary magazines. He has published over a dozen poetry collections. “Among the many pleasures offered in Summoning Shades, as in each of R. T. Smith's collections, are the many years of his generous attention to nature, to the richness of Southern language and life, to music, and much more. One of his greatest gifts to us you can hear if you ‘listen with your/ heart's full force’ / ‘voices elegant with lore and love.’"--Don Selby. “Sparkling language straight from the punch bowl. And what a punch R. T. Smith has given us. It's one thing to know history, it's another to recreate it, call it up, and invite you to the party. I loved this book.”--Alice Friman. “These are haunted, empathic, and durable poems, composed by a writer working at the height of his considerable powers.” --David Wojahn.
Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 2019. 110 pages. Trade paperback.