“A Father Writes”

I first encountered the write Clint Smith in his nonfiction How the Word is Passed. I reviewed that in a post I wrote in August 2021 https://elizabethslaughter.com/2021/08/04/american-ahistorical-insights/ Above Ground(2023) while not his first collection of poems, was the first I have read.

Many mothers have written honestly about childbirth and child rearing. Smith was the first poet I have read that relates his experience as a father in the same time of life. Some poems are poignant as he writes of the dangers of raising kids in a violent culture. Some are funny.

My favorite poem speaks of the praise he gets from strangers when he is out in public doing routine errands with his toddler and infant. He accurately notes that his wife gets no such kudos for the same things. He made me realize that I am still pleasantly surprised when I see young fathers carrying their babies in front packs, playing with their older children in the park, picking them up from school and listening to them as they walk by on the sidewalk together. Fathers were nearly completely uninvolved when I was growing up. I can’t think of one who would have taken a toddler to the grocery store! I am probably one of the women who comments to Smith!

The poems are straightforward and unintimidating for anyone wary of reading “modern poetry.” Refreshingly Smith doesn’t try to flaunt his poetic skill, but rather puts down experience as poems, ones that are a true pleasure to read.

18 thoughts on ““A Father Writes”

  1. I was born in that older generation of uninvolved fathers of which you speak — my own father was such a man. I think there are a lot of things in today’s culture which have gone downhill, but this generation of young fathers isn’t one of them, thank God (if you believe in a heavenly father 😀 )


  2. I guess generations nowadays are more involved with child-rearing. I can only speak for my son-in-law who has an endearing relationship with my only grandchild Nate.


  3. This poetry sounds lovely, Elizabeth. Even the men of my generation were not involved much with babies. That started about 10 years later. Well, here in South African in any event 🌹


  4. Yes, my dad was uninvolved in most of my childhood. He was only interested in ‘masculine things’, like showing me how to use tools, or making me watch him repair the car. Thankfully, I had my mum to get me interested in books, history, and being more than just ‘masculine’.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s