Stop Lying

Aaron Smith’s fifth collection is a beautiful slow dance between humor and despair that the whole school gathers around to watch. Smith excavates tenderness as familial memories are revisited, revised, and rendered new. Stop Lying centers the illness and death of the poet’s mother and manages to perfect that odd and ancient kinship between grief, desire, humor, and loss. The voice in these poems pulls you in close by the collar and refuses to let you go.
sam sax, author of Bury It

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Stop Lying is Aaron Smith’s most personal and vulnerable work yet. Revolving around the death of the poet’s mother and how Smith, a gay man, faces his upbringing where his sexuality was viewed as sinful and unnatural, these poems plumb the complexities of what families say and choose not to say. How does one grieve when a relationship will forever remain unresolved? What does it mean to both regret and not regret one’s decisions? What if survival doesn’t look like what we’re told it should? This is the story of a poet pushing through present-day grief and the shame of the past to find the buried truths, the ones that are hardest to tell.


the hardest part

is wondering
if my mother died

I would go

to hell

108 Pages, 6 x 9 in.

January, 2023

isbn : 9780822967040

about the author

Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith is the author of three books of poetry: Primer, Appetite, and Blue on Blue Ground, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. His work has appeared in numerous publications including Ploughshares and Best American Poetry. A three-time finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, he is the recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Mass Cultural Council. He is associate professor of creative writing at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Aaron Smith