Michael V. Smith is a queer writer, performer and Associate Professor teaching Creative Writing in the interdisciplinary department of Creative Studies at UBC’s Okanagan campus in Kelowna, in BC’s Interior. Smith is an MFA grad from UBC’s Creative Writing program (1998).
Smith has won a number of awards for both his writing and his short film work. His novel, Cumberland (Cormorant Books, 2002), was nominated for the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Smith won the inaugural Dayne Ogilvie Award for Emerging Gay Writers. He’s won a Western Magazine Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Journey Prize. As a member of the Miss Nomer Collective, their short film Girl on Girl won the Colin Campbell Award for Best Canadian Male Short and the Best Canadian Female Short Award at the Inside Out Festival in Toronto.
His videos have played around the world, in cities such as Milan, Dublin, Turin, London, New York, Toronto, Paris, Geneva, Berlin, Glasgow, Lisbon, Beirut, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Buenos Aires, SF, LA and Bombay. He has screened work at the British Film Institute, at the Lincoln Center for the New York Video Festival, and in the Vancouver International Film Festival.
As a performer, Smith has played dozens of cabarets and festivals, including Toronto’s VideoFag, nGbK gallery in Berlin, Junge Triebe Festival in Bielefeld, Germany, the 2011 Performance Studies International Conference in Utrecht, Netherlands, the Vancouver Fringe Festival, the Entzaubert Festival in Berlin, Encuentro 2014 in Montreal, the Vancouver Comedy Festival, and an intervention with the Raumerweiterungshalle, Berlin.
He organizes PONY, an annual cabaret, and co-presents the Student Okanagan Film Festival, both in Kelowna, BC.
His first book of poetry is What You Can’t Have (Signature Editions, 2006), short-listed for the ReLit Prize. In 2008, he published a hybrid book of concrete poems/photographs, Body of Text (BookThug), created with photographer David Ellingsen. His new book of poetry BAD IDEAS was released in May, 2017, from Nightwood Editions.
Michael V. Smith’s second novel, Progress, was published Spring 2011 with Cormorant Books. His memoir, My Body Is Yours, was published in 2015 by Arsenal Pulp Press. A French translation is forthcoming from les Éditions Triptyque. For more info, click books!
Reviews for BAD IDEAS:
“With a specific eye for details, and an airiness to the poetry itself, Smith is able to transport readers into disparate worlds, revealing the fissures and chasms in the human experience…
The poems in Bad Ideas are by turns revelatory and dazzling; Smith moves from subject to subject, creating landscapes (and dreamscapes) that are intricate and still relatable…
In Bad Ideas, Smith explores all our bad impulses, surprising the reader with his honesty, his empathy, and the generous way he reveals us back to ourselves.”
– Canadian Literature Quarterly, Reviewed by Andrea MacPherson
“Michael V. Smith’s new poetry collection, Bad Ideas, is comprised of meditations on mourning, longing, sexuality, and gender. Throughout the book are poems about the passing of Smith’s father, poems that question masculinity, and poems that strive for joy. Oh, and there’s a bunch of loveable dogs in there, too…
Smith’s frequent tactic is to lead with humour – to disarm the reader by emphasizing the unexpected and farcical. The book is divided into four sections: “Prayers,” “Dreams of Friends and Family,” “Queer,” and “Little Things.” The first section, which sports the most sober title, also contains the most humorous material; in contrast, the final section, with arguably the lightest moniker, nevertheless contains the heaviest content and some of the book’s lengthiest poems. The section titles are inverse to the material: they do not serve as the usual primer for what is to come, but rather as a source of destabilization.”
– Quill and Quire, Reviewer: Stevie Howell