Frank Smith 

Described by the American conceptual poet Vanessa Place as a “linguistic craftsman”, Frank Smith is a writer/poet, video artist and filmmaker. He lives in Paris and Los Angeles.
The products of his research, which fuses poetry, politics and image, have been presented through readings, conferences, performances, exhibitions, screenings and installations at many festivals, galleries and arts centers. 

He is represented by the Analix Forever Gallery in Geneva. 

“Frank Smith is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic poets of our time. ‘Enigmatic’ here refers to an author whose poetry sounds like an enigma, a question – the question of a ‘making’, a ‘poesis’ brought into being for no other reason or intent than overcoming this double absence. The fruits of this enigma are his books and the virtuosic inspiration with which they bring it to life.”

(Laurent de Sutter, philosopher). 

“A precise, committed voice, never superficial or precious.”

(Paul Ardenne, art historian and curator). 

Frank Smith has published a dozen books so far, including Guantanamo, which was judged the best poetry book of 2014 by the US-based Huffington Post and has been adapted for the stage by Eric Vigner, and his writing has appeared in several literary reviews (Nioques, If, Chimères, etc.).
To further his poetical investigations, Frank Smith also works as a video artist; his films or “filmpoems” were the subject of a retrospective at the Pompidou Centre in 2015 (Hors Pistes festival). 

– Most recent work: Katrina. 

– Most recent film: Le Film des visages (Film of Faces), commissioned by the Pompidou Centre for its Hors Pistes film festival 2016. 

He is a long-serving radio producer at France Culture, where he produced La poésie n'est pas une solution broadcast, and with Philippe Langlois, co-directed the cult sound engineering show, L’Atelier de création radiophonique (Creative Radio Workshop) from 2001 to 2011. He has also written numerous dramas and documentaries for radio. 

Additionally, he was part of the editorial team at L’Impossible magazine, headed by Michel Butel, worked on the bimonthly magazine Mouvement, and hosted the “Poé/tri” feature, interviewing poets for the nonfiction.fr website. 

 

Frank Smith is also an editor: with Antoine Dufeu he co-edits the critical and analytical poetry review RIP, launched in September 2016, and directs the “ZagZig” collection of artists’ books and CDs that he established at X. 

 

Books:

Pas, based on photographs by Anne-Marie Filaire, published by Créaphis, 1998

Je pense à toi, published by Olbia, 2002, second edition published by Cygne, 2004

Le cas de le dire, published by Créaphis, 2008

Dans Los Angeles, published by Le Bleu du ciel, 2009

Guantanamo, published by Seuil, 2010

Gaza, d'ici-là, Al Dante, 2013

Etats de faits, L'Attente, 2013

Guantanamo, translated by Vanessa Place, Les Figues Press (Los Angeles), (scheduled July 2014) 

 

Smith's stance toward the documents he employs in his writing; his overdetermined and relationship with the archive, the political ramifications of his documentary practice will form the center of a poetical attention. Can literature use historical documents without deforming and betraying them? Can one remember a lived experience without using one's imagination? Can fiction restore or even redeem the past? Smith's writing responds to these questions with a fundamental ethical question of its own that will be a chief concern: can literature and art provide a form of restitution for the suffering and injustice of history ?

 

 

Guantanamo

Frank Smith

Vanessa Place

 

Introduction : Marks Sanders

Praise : Avital Ronell

 

Book of the year 2014 (The Huffington Post)

 

LES FIGUES PRESS

 

Translated by Vanessa Place
Prose | $17.00
ISBN 13: 978-1-934254-53-0
Binding: Softcover, Perfect

 

In Guantanamo, Frank Smith appropriates the language of interrogation minutes from Guantanamo Bay, shaping the questions and answers into a literary world that is as faceless and compelling as the interrogations themselves. Now translated into English by Vanessa Place, Smith’s work is beautiful and unsettling, transcending and confounding the categories of law and poetry, of innocence and guilt, of translation and interpretation.

 

Praise for Guantanamo:

“A composition with a strange status, which lays a finger on the heart of the links between humanity, justice and language.”

—Blandine Sorbe

 

Named for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation 

 

Isle de Jean Charles, to be published by Galerie Legrand, May 2014

Eureka, Dasein, May 2014

Le Film des questions, Plaine Page, May 2014

Surplis, Argol / Ecole Estienne, January 2015

Fonctions Bartleby, May 2015

Isle de Jean Charles (Louisiane), L'Attente, June 2015

Le Film des visages, Plaine Page, May 2016