James Smith is an American poet, filmmaker, writer, artist, curator, editor, publisher, activist, and musician.
James Smith was raised in the LaGuardia Projects on the Lower East Side of New York City. He attended Catholic School on the Upper East Side of NYC and was an altar boy who wanted to be a Priest. At 16 Smith ran away from home to escape the physical and mental abuse by his stepfather a Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran. He dropped out of High School in the 10th grade and survived on the streets on NYC by stealing and dealing drugs. Smith spent his teenage years homeless with no where to call home. “I would sleep on rooftops, park benches, and trains.” After getting arrested at 18 he joined the Army and was honorably discharged. “I’ve always loved poetry and the spoken word. Byron, Longfellow, Shelley, Hughes, Bukowski, Angelou, are a few of my favorites. I would read their works at the Library where I would sit for 10 hours a day for one year when I was on the run from individuals who wanted to kill me. I write as catharsis and as my weapon of choice to expose the oppressor and for my sanity.”