Maggie Smith


Poet, mother, and viral sensation Maggie Smith was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1977. Growing up in the midwest, Smith began writing poetry as a teenager. Though she submitted numerous poems to her high school literary magazine, her work was never accepted for publication. Despite this discouragement, Smith would become one of the most recognized poets of her generation; her poem “Good Bones” was published by Waxwing in 2016 and went viral internationally, garnering an estimated one million views. “Good Bones,” which Smith wrote in one go at a Starbucks, has been translated into nearly a dozen languages and recited by actress Meryl Streep at Lincoln Center. Smith earned a BA from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MFA from The Ohio State University, and has gone on to teach creative writing at several institutions, including Gettysburg College and Antioch University Los Angeles. She holds the same enthusiasm for teaching as she does for writing, now serving as faculty for Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing. Much of Smith’s inspiration comes from science and nature, as well as her children’s endless curiosities and her personal experiences as a mother. A National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship recipient, Maggie Smith has received six Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council and is the Editor at Large for the prestigious literary journal The Kenyon Review. Smith lives with her family in Bexley, Ohio.

Good Bones

Life is short, though I keep this from my children.

Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine

in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,

a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways

I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least

fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative

estimate, though I keep this from my children.

For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.

For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,

sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world

is at least half terrible, and for every kind

stranger, there is one who would break you,

though I keep this from my children. I am trying

to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,

walking you through a real dump, chirps on

about good bones: This place could be beautiful,

right? You could make this place beautiful.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Faith & Hope

Strength & Resilience

Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered