Spenser Smith is a Regina-born poet, essayist, and photographer who recently moved to Winnipeg after 10 years in B.C. His debut book of poetry, A brief relief from hunger, is forthcoming from Gordon Hill Press in September 2023. His writing also appears in The Malahat Review, Prairie Fire, Contemporary Verse 2, The Capilano Review, Poetry Is Dead, Vallum, subTerrain, The Puritan, and SAD Mag. He holds a BA in creative writing and journalism from Vancouver Island University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia.
A brief relief from hunger
A brief relief from hunger is a poetry collection about the yearnings of a young man—cocaine, human connection, fast food—and the ravenous world in which he lives. In Vancouver, the speaker binges Big Macs post-rehab while others consume fentanyl-tainted drugs. Growling bodies are everywhere, including on Facebook where people post cruel comments about drug users in the face of British Columbia’s toxic drug supply crisis. At the heart of the collection are poems that respond to these comments from the perspective of the speaker, now sober but still hungry, whose friends are dying from the contaminated drug supply. The speaker knows at least one reliable source of contentment: Grandma’s kitchen, where, at his lowest points, he finds cabbage rolls, acceptance, and a tenderness he wishes to absorb into his masculinity.