Ken Smith (poet)

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Ken Smith (4 December 1938 Rudston, Yorkshire – 27 June 2003) was a British poet.


He was son of a farm labourer, and he had an itinerant childhood. He attended Leeds University and studied with Geoffrey Hill, with fellow students Tony Harrison and Jon Silkin.

With Jon Silkin, he later co-edited Stand magazine, from 1963 to 1972.

He left for America, teaching at Slippery Rock State College, College of the Holy Cross, and Clark University.

He returned to England in 1973,[1] teaching at Leeds University as a Yorkshire arts fellow from 1976 to 1978.[2]

He married Annie Minnis in 1960; they had one son and two daughters, but the marriage dissolved. In 1981, he married the poet and artist Judi Benson; he thus became stepfather to her son.[3]




  • The Pity, Jonathan Cape 1967.
  • Work, Distances/Poems. Swallow Press. 1972. ISBN 978-0-8040-0588-3.
  • Fox Running. Bloodaxe Books. 1981. ISBN 978-0-906427-22-4.
  • Burned Books. Bloodaxe Books. 1981. ISBN 978-0-906427-23-1.
  • The poet reclining: selected poems 1962-1980. Bloodaxe Books. 1982. ISBN 978-0-906427-50-7.
  • Terra. Bloodaxe Books. 1986. ISBN 978-0-906427-94-1.
  • Wormwood. Bloodaxe Books. 1987. ISBN 978-1-85224-037-0.
  • Berlin: coming in from the cold. Hamish Hamilton. 1990. ISBN 978-0-241-13072-8.
  • The Heart, the Border Publisher. Bloodaxe Books. 1990. ISBN 978-1-85224-139-1.
  • Tender To The Queen Of Spain. Bloodaxe Books. 1993. ISBN 978-1-85224-261-9.
  • Wild Root. Bloodaxe Books. 1998. ISBN 978-1-85224-461-3.
  • Shed: poems, 1980-2001. Bloodaxe. 2002. ISBN 978-1-85224-571-9.
  • You again: last poems & other words. Bloodaxe. 2004. ISBN 978-1-85224-670-9.


  • Ken Smith, Judi Benson, eds. (1993). Klaonica: Poems for Bosnia. Bloodaxe. ISBN 978-1-85224-283-1.


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