To The Dark Angels is a compassionate, transcendent journey through the mysteries, myths, and struggles of our time. It is dark at times, yet richly luminous, woven from the fiery brightness of love and a gentle humor, as Jared Smith employs the depth of a half-century of poetic craft and hard-earned experience in exploring the profound value of human dignity placed against the cosmic dance we share with all life, the earth, and the unknowable itself. This is a deeply resonant song of maturity, which ultimately fills the reader with a sense of peace and joy that will last a lifetime.
Jared Smith's To the Dark Angels is alive with awe and wonder from cover to cover. Grasses become spirits, spaces between stars become the spaces of human longing, and flesh becomes the seismograph which records the million little quakes that shake our assumptions and forge our consciousness. These poems are like dreams—if dreams have a cadence and a meter—that remind us that we are more than we supposed. Science and art swim like galaxies sweeping through each other, miraculously without collision. They are an endless song of the road and bestow the unexpected kindnesses of provident angels who may be ourselves from a different time. Underneath all these incidents, fragments, memories, is a unifying intelligence sifting by experience and generating meaning by context. Jared Smith's magnificent theme in To the Dark Angels is "the great murmur in the background," the living bridge between matter and energy, between hearts and souls. This is a vitally important book. It belongs in your keeping.
"A murmuring blows across these stars at night./Our fine-tuned eyes turned up cannot hear the song...." Jared Smith declares ("Voyagers") in his newest collection, then proceeds, poem after poem, to do exactly that, turning his fine tuned eyes (and ears) toward the cosmos and transcribing its song. This is a finely wrought work of loss and longing, of stories whose narrative details track back and forth across the only apparently firm boundary separating dreams from waking life.
Jared Smith's poems are as necessary to life as a mother's breast to a new born baby. Here is a poet who values place and time and ties the two together in a spiritual journey for answers to this thing we call life; poems of memory and reflection that will stay with the reader long after you turn off the lights and lose yourself in the mystery of sleep.
—A. D. Winans
Jared Smith writes "...the black ink of man's meanings when he is lost...remind me he is always lost, but that...he speaks...to draw others in to catch their breath." The poems in his latest collection allow plenty of respite in which to catch the breath. They remind us, as William Carlos Williams said, "No ideas but in things," that the landscapes we inhabit are packed full of the metaphysical. Under Jared's skillful hand, we move with ease between the physical and philosophical reaching the thoughtful spaces in our lives we crave. To the Dark Angels is "the sun...fully risen and the snow...fully flown."