Matthew M. C. Smith is a poet from Wales. He is ‘Best of the Net’-nominated and won the R.S Thomas prize at Gwyl Cybi in 2018. His work can be read in Poetry Wales, The Lonely Crowd, Barren Magazine, Fevers of the Mind, Atrium Poetry and Arachne Press. He also edits Black Bough Poetry and Top Tweet Tuesday. His second collection will be published with Broken Spine. Matthew loves the Welsh mountains, a Spanish holiday, outdoor activities with his kids, The Doors and vintage Star Wars. You can find out more about Matthew here. On Twitter you can find him @MatthewMCSmith and @blackboughpoems
What does your memory smell like?
Spilt diesel in the baking heat. The green scent of spotting rain after weeks of drought. Cedarwood and sandalwood.
What do you want your future to taste like?
Sea-salt, crushed grapes, raspberry and vanilla cheesecake.
Favourite line of a poem right now?
‘Near them, on the sand,
/ Half sunk a shattered visage lies,
(Shelley – ‘Ozymandias’)
The poet/the poems that give you life?
Really digging Andy MacGregor and Zaina Ghani’s new collection, Nightjars at the moment – highly poetic, full of atmosphere; the inventive and soulful John McCullough, kicking cliches into touch with those Adidas trainers. All of the poets I publish on the Silver Branch project. And R.S. Thomas. Forbidding with gravitas.
What is your why?
Frequently mystified by people’s reserve in sharing their passions. I counter this online by promoting creatives that excite me and exuding enthusiasm online.
I’m about to complete my second collection after ‘Origin: 21 Poems’ in 2018. This will be with Broken Spine Arts, based in Southport, Northern England. The collection is a mix of poetry and prose focused on deep time, nature, spirit of place and the cosmos. It’s been a great year for me in terms of writing as I got published with Poetry Wales, was nominated for ‘Best of the Net’ twice (Acropolis Journal and Broken Spine), was a Feature Poet with Eat the Storms and have been published in several places, such as Finished Creatures and Atrium Poetry. I’ve gone for the patient approach since publishing my first book in 2018. Learning a lot about contemporary poetry and getting with the times. Getting a readership is a slow, patient game but much easier with social media.
I’m also overseeing two editions with Black Bough, having handed over guest editorial duties to Briony Collins and Jen Feroze. They’re brilliant editors and it’s good to shake it up. Also editing the Dai Fry Award anthology. Too many plates spinning.
You edit Black Bough Poetry and TopTweetTuesday. What’s it like to run these projects?
It’s time-consuming but pretty easy with a smartphone. Doing the editions is the tricky part and finding the right guest hosts for TopTweetTuesday – people like yourself who can get to grips with a poem and have integrity online. But it’s fun and I’m forever learning. If I didn’t enjoy it, I’d be off quick enough doing something else.