Alex Steelsmith—Featured Poet


Vice Versa

If a poem is faulty, or worse,
an editor needs to be nice;
a vice in a verse is adverse,
but a poet’s averse to advice.

Her Eminence

Eminy feminy
Emily Dickinson,
dashing off many a
lyrical gem,

offered us em dashes
may we refer to her
simply as Em?


“Emerson’s ideas on poetry, history, self-reliance [emphasis added],
and friendship show up in Thoreau’s journals and many of Thoreau’s
subjects appear in Emerson’s journals. It is sometimes impossible
to say who took what from whom.”
—Robert D. Richardson,
Emerson: The Mind on Fire

Biggledy wiggledy
Ralph Waldo Emerson
needed no help with his
essays, although

Robert D. Richardson
says on occasion he
robbed from Thoreau.


Neal Leon Cassaday
went from reform school and
life on the street

into a circle of
writers, without ever
missing a Beat.

In HERitance

Mary D. Wollstonecraft
had a career and a
daughter to boot.

Later, the author of
reckoned the daughter both
brilliant and cute.


An article in Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine speculates
that Sergei Rachmaninoff suffered from acromegaly, a disorder
that can cause numerous painful symptoms and conditions.

His First Symphony’s “brutal gestures and uncompromising power
of expression were unprecedented in Russian music.”


Symptomy symphony,
Sergei Rachmaninoff
often, according to
modern-day docs,

might have been suffering
all the more reason he
totally Rachs.


In 1914, the composer and instrumentalist Sergei Prokofiev
beat the world chess champion in an exhibition chess match.

Mystery mastery
Sergei Prokofiev,
tuning his mind like a
harpsichord string

keyed to the logic of
kept his composure and
captured the king.


“Although appointed by a Republican president, [Justice] Kennedy was not easily pigeonholed
ideologically… Conservative pundit George Will and Georgetown University Law Center professor
Randy Barnett have described Kennedy’s jurisprudence as ‘libertarian’… [Kennedy] “was also known
for siding with the Court’s liberal justices on high-profile social issues like same-sex marriage
and abortion.”

Flippety liberty,
Anthony Kennedy,
rendering Reaganites
vaguely confused,

also left legions of
hard-line conservatives
hardly amused.

Unidentified Buying Objects

Wackily, tackily,
Roswell, New Mexico,
site of a dubious
alien crash,

lacking in visits from
happily settles for
tourists with cash.


After a conversation with an immigrant observed reading the poetry of John Crowe Ransom
at a picnic table in Golden Gate Park

A man whose ancient clan
were priests in Chichen Itza
reads Ransom in San Fran
and eats a piece of pizza.


A writer and fine artist, Alex Steelsmith has coauthored three nonfiction books and numerous articles for various publications, including USA Today. In addition to Light, Alex’s poems have appeared in The SpectatorThe Washington PostThe LyricSnakeskinLighten Up OnlineParody, and other venues. His artwork has been shown in many museums and galleries, and is in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.