Maggie Smith (poet)

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Maggie Smith
Born1977 (age 46–47)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
  • Poet
  • freelance writer
  • editor
EducationOhio Wesleyan University (BA)
Ohio State University (MFA)
Notable works"Good Bones" (2016)

Maggie Smith is an American poet, freelance writer, and editor who lives in Bexley, Ohio.

Smith's poem "Good Bones," originally published in the journal Waxwing in June 2016, has been widely circulated on social media and read by an estimated one million people. A Wall Street Journal story in May 2020 described it as "keeping the realities of life's ugliness from young innocents," citing that the poem has gone viral after catastrophes such as the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, the May 2017 suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester, England, the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, and the coronavirus pandemic.[1] PRI called it "the official poem of 2016".[2]

Early life[edit]

Smith was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1977.[3] She received her Bachelor of Arts from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1999, and then went on to receive her Master of Fine Arts from Ohio State University in 2003.[4]


From 2003 to 2004, Smith served as the Emerging Writer Lecturer for Gettysburg College. She went on to take a position as an assistant editor with a children's trade book publisher. She worked there for two years, and became an associate editor. Eventually, she decided to make the switch to freelance work.[5]

As a poet, she has been published widely, with individual poems appearing in The Paris Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, The Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, iamb and other journals.[3][4]

Her work has also been widely anthologized in From the Other World: Poems in Memory of James Wright; The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror 2008; Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days, and The Helen Burns Anthology: New Voices from the Academy of American Poets University & College Prizes, Volume 9.[4]

In January 2022, when the board of trustees of McMinn County Schools in Tennessee, in a 10-0 decision, removed the Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust graphic novel Maus from its curriculum for 8th grade English classes, overriding a State curriculum decision, Smith was critical of the decision. She tweeted: "We’ve lost our damn minds if we think that to keep kids safe in school, we need to ban books, not assault weapons".[6]

In 2023, her memoir You Could Make This Place Beautiful debuted at No. 3 on The New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction List.[7]

Honors and awards[edit]

Published works[edit]

Full-length poetry collections[edit]


  • Disasterology (Dream Horse Press, 2016)—winner of the 2013 Dream Horse Press Chapbook Prize[16]
  • The List of Dangers (Kent State University Press, 2010)—winner of the Wick Poetry Series Chapbook Competition[17]
  • Nesting Dolls (Pudding House, 2005)

Essay collections[edit]



  1. ^ Wolfe, Alexandra (May 22, 2020). "A Poet for Times of Trouble". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  2. ^ Kott, Lidia Jean (December 31, 2016). "This is the official poem of 2016". Public Radio International. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Maggie Smith Extended Bio, retrieved February 2015
  4. ^ a b c OWU Young Alumni Award, 2014, retrieved February 2015
  5. ^ Dear English Major Interview, retrieved February 2015
  6. ^ "Explained: Why Pulitzer Prize-winning novel 'Maus' topped Amazon best-seller list". January 31, 2022.
  7. ^ Egan, Elisabeth (May 4, 2023). "Maggie Smith's Muse Is Central Ohio". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  8. ^ Writers' Corner, retrieved February 2015
  9. ^ WOSU Public Media Archived February 23, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, retrieved February 2015
  10. ^ Awardees, retrieved February 2015
  11. ^ OAC Grant, retrieved February 2015
  12. ^ OAC Grant, retrieved February 2015
  13. ^ Goelz, AJ (April 17, 2018). "Poet Maggie Smith to come to campus". Indiana Statesman. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  14. ^ Dorset Prize Winners, retrieved February 2015
  15. ^ BSA Award Winners, retrieved February 2015
  16. ^ Dream Horse Press, retrieved February 2015
  17. ^ Kent State University Press, retrieved February 2015