October 1, 2022

Barbara Smith poetry reading and book signing

Barbara Smith – Photo submitted by Western Wyoming Community College

Wyo4news Staff, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]

ROCK SPRINGS, WYOMING— Barbara Smith, author of a recently published collection of poetry, By putting a name to it, will be presented at a book launch party on Friday, April 22. Fittingly, the event will take place at Western Wyoming Community College (Western), where Smith taught for 38 years. It will begin at 7 p.m. in room 1302 on the Rock Springs campus and is free and open to the public.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

The book, Smith’s first comprehensive poetry collection, was published by Deep Wild Press. She offers richly imagined stories of pioneers past and present who called the high plains of the West their home, including her own multi-generational family. She also writes about her contemporary experiences, first coming to Rock Springs in 1969 as a young teacher, then raising her family and settling there.

Smith is the granddaughter of Norwegian farmers and the daughter of Great Depression parents, all of whom continued to move West in search of a better life, as many still do today. Their stories feed his writing. “The stories my immigrant grandparents told of their pioneer days, struggling and living in the rough West, and the stories my parents told of growing up during the Depression inspired me in my youth. These stories we tell connect us and allow us to better understand our similarities and our differences, our different cultures, generations and places where we find ourselves,says Smith.

Smith continues:I started writing with more intensity when I saw a connection between the stories of my ancestors, my own life, and those of the new pioneers coming to this burgeoning town where I lived. As a new mother raising a family outside of the extended family I grew up in, in a world torn apart by the familiar, I could truly relate to the isolation and challenges pioneer women faced. I felt we were sisters. In our own way, we were all trying to live in a difficult environment during turbulent and changing times. This convergence of stories has remained a major theme in my writing.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Smith has received recognition for her writing over the years. In 2008, she received the Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing Award for Nature Writing, sponsored by the Wyoming Arts Council and funded by artist and patron Neltje. In 2006, she received the Wyoming Governor’s Arts Award for her contributions to the arts in Sweetwater County as well as for her own writing. She also received the Wyoming Arts Council Literary Fellowship in 1990 and an Artist Residency from the Ucross Foundation.

His poetry and essays have been published in numerous collections, including Wyoming Fence Lines; Deep West, a Literary Tour of Wyoming; and the series of three books, Leaning in the wind, Woven on the windand Crazy Woman’s Stream. Other publications include the Montana Anthology, The last best place; Ucross: the first ten years; Letter from Wyoming; Blood, Water, Wind and Stone; and Drive, he said, an anthology about Americans and their cars.

Smith is a professor emeritus at Western and retired in 2007. She taught English, journalism and creative writing at Western, serving as chair of the humanities division for 17 years. While at Western, she led the Wesswick Lecture Series on Arts and Education, bringing nearly 100 guest writers to campus to give readings and workshops to students and community members.

In retirement, Smith continues to teach a memoir writing workshop in conjunction with Western and the Young at Heart Senior Center. She says, “I believe it is important for people growing up and living in the American West to write their stories, leaving a record of the true history of this place in their own words.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising