Some say Abraham Smith's live readings are the best in America, except it's more accurate to say he howls rather than reads. So, better to call his readings hollerings, which often times might take place next to a tree. Listen to his howl via the flexi-disc included in DESTRUCTION OF MAN. You will hear the postmodern pastoral incantatory prophesy told through colloquialism and a minding of song. Music has a scent and the song logic as this book meanders along that broken and disjointed road. Regional writing is a curse, it seems; but this book is unabashedly regional, in the sense that Smith sought to translate the stories of his native county--and thereby the fading gleam or echo of a dying agrarian lifeway. This is a book-length poem about small scale family farming in the midst of the get-big-or-get-out mantra and foghorn. More broadly, this is a book-length poem about culture history and masculinity and our rupturing and sometimes obliterating elisions with machines. The conclusions are clarion clear: rurality has its hectic musics and all we have is love. Gertrude Stein said the seed of DESTRUCTION OF MAN: "After all anybody is as their land and air is."
"I’ve been unable to decide if the best way to describe this book is as punk gone agrarian or if the agrarians went punk and got some politics or if Gertrude Stein went eco or if thrash metal went intellectual or if Whitman rapped with Busta Rhymes and they both agreed to rap about a lot of small animals because that is suddenly where it’s at. But whatever it is, Destruction of Man is like all of Abraham Smith’s work something full of many many words and weirdness and tradition and it might also be prophecy." — Juliana Spahr, author of The Winter the Wolf Came
Abraham Smith uses his words like a rhythmic sledgehammer upside the head. Brilliant stuff that merges poetry and performance art.
— Patterson Hood, Drive-By Truckers
Part song, part guttural wail into the American rural landscape, Destruction of Man is a breathtaking lyric that's as complex and heartbreaking as the country itself. Smith has long been a lauded preacher of the trees, praiser of the woods, but this is his finest work yet as he makes a new form to sing of both the beauty and the mess. — Ada Limón, author of Bright Dead Things
Abraham Smith's Destruction of Man is a compass setting toward musics caught between the hungry teeth of vole and buried bone of river. It nestles a bloodline of tonked and battered rhyme while conjuring a clabbered American Karma into silos of riveted storm. Spackled with image and strung out like a laundry line of ghost furious prayer, this book will carry you wild when you surrender to its eddies and breaks. Dive head in and leave caution to the shore. — Tyehimba Jess, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Olio.