A Poet's Voice Merril D Smith Podcast TTT Poets Season 4 Syllabic Poetry

Season 4 Episode 45: Merril D Smith on A Poet’s Voice


the grass glistens

in October moonlight,

silvered pale…a scurry of mice,


Merril D. Smith, The Moons of Autumn: Word Weaving # 1: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse

Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.

I am your host, Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.

The Moons of Autumn: A Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse, edited by Colleen M. Chesebro and JulesPaige is a profound exploration of Japanese and American syllabic poetry.  The theme of this journal was influenced by the Harvest, Hunter’s, and Frost moons, which are the names given to the three full moons that transpire during the autumn months.   Within the pages of this poetry collection, the diverse mix of syllabic poetry has ignited my desire to explore a poetic journey. 

Merril D Smith on A Poet’s Voice

Today, I am delighted that Merril D Smith whose poetry is featured in “The Moons of Autumn” has joined me to give voice to her poetry. Welcome to the series, “A Poet’s Voice”, which brings words of poetry from across the world to your home.

The Moons of Autumn (Click on photo for a sample)

Merril D. Smith is a writer, editor, independent scholar, and poet. She is the author and editor of several books.  Merril’s poetry is often inspired by the natural world around her. Her poetry has been published by several presses, and she is working on a full-length poetry collection, as well as some smaller collections. In April 2022, Nightingale & Sparrow Press published her first full-length collection, River Ghosts.

River Ghosts by Merril D Smith (click on photo for a sample)

I invite you to put the kettle on and add to this exciting conversation on Tea Toast & Trivia.

Thank you for joining Merril and me on Tea Toast & Trivia to reflect on the beauty of poetic words.

Thank you, Merril for sharing your insights on how poetry allows us to describe the world around us in unexpected ways.  I have enjoyed traveling virtually to New Jersey to walk along the Delaware River with you.

Listeners you can meet up with Merril D. Smith on her website Merril D Smith, Amazon and Goodreads.  You are only an internet click away from poetry that enriches the soul.

Until next time we meet, dear friends, keep reading and reciting poetry.

Safe travels wherever your adventures lead you.

Merril D Smith on A Poet’s Voice Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

By Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

43 replies on “Season 4 Episode 45: Merril D Smith on A Poet’s Voice”

There seems to be something about a blog that encourages poetry. I can relate to a lot of the discussion in the interview. I really like the moon poem, as I can remember watching the moon landings with my dad. Laurie has a graduate class on Milton, and I’ve been doing a lot of research for her. I feel we are inundated with poetry today, and good poetry (however one can gauge good and not so good poetry today) seems to be considered a form of art that makes little difference in the world as a whole. But in Milton’s day, through the 18th century, into the 19th century, poetry made a difference. At least Milton’s poetry made a difference. In my research for Laurie, I have discovered that in Milton’s day his poetry was influential, controversial and got him in a bit of trouble. But more interesting is that the founding of the USA, the development of the Methodist movement in America, the development of the national parks system in America, and many early American teachings on grammar and early dictionaries were all influenced by Milton’s poetry. It’s mind boggling how many things were influenced by Milton. There was a time when poetry made a huge difference in the world we have come to know. I have a good idea what changed, but that’s too long and complicated for a blog comment.

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This is fascinating research, Tim. Would you join me again on TTT to discuss Milton’s poetry? I knew that he was controversial but I had no idea of the reach and influence of his poetry. I would love this conversation.

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Thank you for listening, Tim. I’m pleased you liked my moon landing poem.
People did experience poetry in a different way in the past, going back to troubadours singing ballads. Of course, they didn’t have movies, TV, social media, etc. There was a tradition in early American, too, of sharing poetry in letters and copying it into commonplace books.

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Thank you Mandy for stopping by and for your comments. I remember sitting beside my grandfather watching the moon landing. He turned to me and said, I traveled with horse and cart, I saw the coming of the first car and now I have seen a man walk on the moon. I am delighted that Merril recited her poetry. I feel energized when I hear a poet reading his/her poetry.

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Hi Rebecca, thank you for this excellent podcast. I have read The Moons of Autumn and enjoyed it very much. Merrill writes beautifully and I loved her readings. I read Timothy’s comments above and believe that it is much more difficult to make a perceived difference or influence peoples ideas about the world through the written word now that in the past. There are numerous reasons for this including the change in the attitude of publishing houses from the pursuit of greatness to the pursuit of money as well as the loudness of the shouting by social media.

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Thank you so much, Rebecca! I enjoyed this very much (even though it’s always strange hearing my own voice). My husband said it was a very nice interview that you did. 😊
I appreciate all that went into it. 💙

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Thank you for adding your 5+ review, Marian. Very much appreciated. How wonderful that you and Merril met in person. I can only imagine how exciting it was to share a conversation face-to-face! The words: “lyrical loveliness” is the perfect definition of Merril’s poetry.

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It’s always a pleasure listening to conversations about poetry, especially with professional poets. The greatest and obvious challenge in writing poems is brevity and word choice. Merril’s autumn moon poems evoke precious memories for me, like watching the neighboring farmer reap corn and his harvester’s light beam under a full moon so late into the night. Row after row, twin lights in the night, so peaceful and hypnotizing. Another, when my children romped in twilight before going indoors for the night. In other words, her words, and your words, touched me. Thank you, Rebecca, for another delightful podcast.

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As I read your comments, Mary Jo, I recall Robert Frost’s thought on being a poet. He wrote: “To be a poet is a condition, not a profession.” The more I connect with poets like you, I have a sense that poetry connects to deeper, more profound emotions that are awakened by words, carefully chosen and brought together. I am delighted that you enjoyed this conversation. I am envisioning those precious memories of watching a neighboring farmer reap corn. And your children romping in twilight. What came to me was standing beside my grandfather on a late summer night, looking up to the stars and hearing the crickets around us. Both heaven and earth were ours.

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This was wonderful! I love Merril’s poetry and hearing her read her poems was very special. I cannot pick a favorite! They are all beautifully written and they are spoken from the heart. I believe that is where the magic begins…when someone is brave enough to share their heart. You mentioned that in your podcast…a poet must be brave!

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This has been a learning experience for me! I have always loved poetry, but this podcast has widened my understanding of the value and influence that poetry has had in our civilization. The beginning words about the three moons surrounding our happy Christmas time and other introductory words are valuable, for sure. (I watched the moon landing with my parents and husband those many years ago, so this podcast is very special to me) I need to thank Merril especially for her reading of the poetry she has written, so very inspired really, coming from her heart! Her careful choice of words and the way she has chosen to connect them is easily viewed as from a specialist! I do not have a favorite! ! They all seem to come from her heart! It is interesting that her husband had a positive comment– most valued! !

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I adore Merril’s poetry. She was already a poet when I met her, around the time of her mother’s passing. She remains one of my 2 fave contemporary poets, both blog pals. The first poem she recited from “River Ghosts” is imprinted in me, as I knew each word ere she read it.
“River Ghosts” is an excellent example of where words, heart and imagination can take a human spirit.
Thank you, Merril!
Thank you, Rebecca! (and Don!)

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I really appreciated your conversation with Merril and above all to see the importance of writing poetry because she really needs to do it for herself! Many thanks Rebecca and Merril for having us given the chance to understand this point:)

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Thank you, Martina for listening in and for your insightful comments. I have given the idea of creativity a great deal of thought lately. Social media offers a huge variety of remarkable creative endeavours. Sometimes we get lost in all the messages. The question becomes, how do we give time for our creative spirit? One of my 2023 goals is to consider this question. I continue to learn.

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Your thoughts inspire me, dear Rebecca, and I would like to add that I have lately been feeling very strongly that to read books quietly and discuss them with my friends really helps me to see and enlarge the many points of view and I consider this very creative! To become creative, according to me, asks for time and therefore, for me, we have to take decisions!

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A wonderful conversation about poetry, Merril and Rebecca! Merril, the next-to-last poem you read, about the moon landing and your puppies, was VERY evocative. And the last poem you read, about the passage of time and more, was a beautiful piece of writing with a powerful emotional impact. Excellent reciting, too.

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Rebecca, you know how much I like poetry. I very much enjoyed this discussion with Merril. You might be right, Rebecca, that poets write for themselves, but they distill that writing into a more perfect form until it’s worth sharing.I have walked many times under a full moon, but Merril’s is a prefect description. I watched the moon landing, but I’ve never thought of it like she describes it.Thank you both for sharing the poetry and thoughts about writing.

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I am delighted that you listened in and grateful that you introduced me to Merril, Colleen. Poetry sheds light into dark places and brings us closer to understanding ourselves and others. Celebrating the Yuletide with you. Happy Solstice.

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I have River Ghosts on my kindle and look forward to reading it. This was a great nudge to move it up in the pile! It was fun to learn how Merril started writing and began her foray into syllabic poetry and listen to her thoughts about prose versus poetry. The inspiration for this collection was so poignant. Loss sends us deep. Her readings were beautiful and swept me away. Thanks so much for the wonderful conversation and beautiful poetry.

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I am delighted that you listened in to Merril’s poetry recitation, Diana. It was a deeply moving experience for me to connect with Merril. I love those nudges that move books up the pile. Every one of my books whisper promises that they they should be the next ones to read. I hear the whispers and never feel that I am ever alone.

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