Maggie Smith and Patricia Lockwood on Viral Poems

At Slate, Dan Kois talks to Maggie Smith and Patricia Lockwood about what happens when your poem goes viral online. “The strangest thing about having a viral poem,” says Lockwood, “is that you are framed in reference to it afterwards to a degree that feels ensmallifying. It feels a little like you’re placed into a box.” Smith, author of the poem “Good Bones” and the recently published Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change, says, “What I’ll always be known for is writing this poem about how bad things are, and maybe they could be better, but they’re bad. Every time my mentions tick up, I know to check the news because something bad has happened.”

is always reading. She works for Brooklyn Public Library and blogs about books at

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