Showcasing the Arts


April 2012 Featured Artist: Frederick Smock

Frederick SmockFrederick Smock was born and raised in Louisville, and he feels privileged to have learned the art of poetry from Kentucky poets — Wendell Berry, Jane Gentry Vance, James Baker Hall and so many others.

He works in a spare poetic form that is at once (he hopes) epiphanic and magical. Though city-bred, he concerns himself with the natural world. Does not the natural world include the city?

He has also learned that poems do not always come when bidden. First there must be awareness and patience — toward the world and the work. His process? A few words come to him. They lead to other words. Writing is a process of discovery. He can never predict the path of a poem, and is most pleased when the result is a surprise.

He agrees with Lucien Blaga that poetry exists not to explain the world, but to deepen the mystery of the world.

Frederick Smock
Recipient of a 1995 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship Award: Poetry
Louisville, Ky.



The day lengthens,
the old earth tips its hat
to the moon.

The changeful moon
goes through many phases,
even in a single night,

though it is the same
moon, as ever, we know this.
We are the changes.



The sunlight
that the tree soaked up
for all those years

the logs give back
in the hearth.
Where we sit through

the long winter months,
a small blazing
patch of summer.



Every forest has
a central tree,
one the whole forest
leans on.

You may not
be able to find it.
It lives deep
in the heart.

It may even have
fallen years
ago, but its memory
is that strong.


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