2020 Housatonic Book Award for Poetry
2020 Runner Up for the San Francisco Book Festival for Poetry
Leave Smoke is a personal and down-to-earth collection of poetry that speaks to the ordinary and the ups and downs of life and relationships. Told with vivid language and raw emotion, the reader is easily whirled into the realm of the poetic voice. The poems capture the malaise of a society rarely redeemed by love in a world of hard work, chronic exhaustion, few pleasures: reminders of how we create an easy camaraderie to substitute for deeper connections.
"Jeff Walt’s bluesy, compassionate poems are rooted in the real world of chance and transitory struggle and suffering, but they evoke an otherworldliness that perfectly complements their dabbling in pop-culture-infused daydreams and nightmares. Leave Smoke is one of those rare books of poems that you’ll wish, like life, would never end.” — Jeremy Halinen
Jeff Walt was born in rural Pennsylvania among a community of coal miners, bricklayers, and railroad workers. His chapbook, Soot, was awarded co-winner of the Keystone Chapbook Prize and published in 2010 by Seven Kitchens Press. He’s been awarded writing residencies from The MacDowell Colony, The Djerassi Resident Artist Program, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, The Vermont Studio Center, Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts, and Kalani Eco-Village Artist-in-Residence Program on the Big Island of Hawai’i. His poems have appeared in journals such as Fugue, Red Wheelbarrow, Los Angeles Review, Alligator Juniper, The Sun, Southword, Connecticut Review, Inkwell, New Millennium Writings, The Good Men Project, Harpur Palate, Americas Review, Cream City Review, The Ledge, and Slipstream. Several poems from Soot were selected and scored by composer David Sisco and performed at Carnegie Hall on November 14, 2014. His poem, After a Fight, was selected by Broadside Press for a professionally designed broadside collaboration that was made available as a free download in August 2016. Jeff is a Regional Editor with the San Diego Poetry Annual and serves as SDPA’s coordinator for The Kowit Poetry Prize.