We Met on 5th

poetry by Spenser Smith
first place winner of the 2017 Blodwyn Memorial Prize in poetry

“With ‘We Met on 5th,’ Spenser takes an unparalleled approach to combining original and found poetry. The immaculate craft of this poem takes an intimate, difficult subject and breaks it down into sections that perfectly balance intense inwardness with devastating invitation. This poem takes the reader to necessary and uncomfortable places, and then forces a dialogue, asking them to be a different person than when they began.”


Process for cantos 1 through 3: I searched “fentanyl addiction” in Google News and copy and pasted the contents of the first twenty news stories into a Word document. I used “control+f” to search “body”, “family”, and “addicts” within the resulting 41 pages of text (15582 total words). I removed each sentence (and sometimes fragments of the previous and following sentences) containing each word to put in a new Word document. I joined words, sentence fragments, and complete sentences while also removing words to craft the cantos. No additional words were added. (“Body” appeared 12 times, “family” appeared 18 times, and “addicts” appeared 9 times.)



SPENSER SMITH is a Regina-born writer, editor, and photographer working towards a Creative Writing and Journalism BA at Vancouver Island University. His work has been featured in The Maynard(parenthetical)The QuilliadtextPotluck Mag, and elsewhere. He was awarded the Pat Bevan Scholarship in 2016 and the Barry Broadfoot Award in 2017. He served as the managing editor of Portal 2017 and is currently the associate editor of The Navigator. You can visit his website at www.spensersmith.com and his Instagram at @spenserasmith.