Yale University

In Memoriam

David Carlson Smith

David C. Smith
1964 graduation


Santa Fe New Mexican

April 28, 2017

David Carlson Smith, attorney, writer, musician, publisher, photographer, passed away on Thursday, April 27, 2017.

He is survived by his wife Patricia, his sons Carl and David, and his daughter Amber Adams.

Born in Amarillo, Texas in 1942, David grew up there with his mother Ophelia (Felix) Smith and his father Carl M. Smith, an independent oil and gas operator.

After graduation from the Berkshire School, Sheffield, Massachusetts, David went to Yale College, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1964.

He lived in Spain, where he wrote a novel, The Vandals, about coming of age in Texas, and studied flamenco guitar with Triguito and Aurelio Garci. He later studied with Pedro Cortes in New York and Carlos Lomas in Santa Fe.

For several years, David played bass with The Blues Arrows, fronted by the artist Paul Shapiro on vocals and harmonica. The Blues Arrows opened for blues legend Junior Wells. David's CD "Flamenco Blues" was in the recording phase at the time of his death.

David received his J.D. from Temple University School of Law and was admitted to the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, after which he served as treasurer for a technical-education company.

He began his representation of artists as publisher and lawyer. His artist clients included Tom Palmore, James Havard, Earl Biss, Bob Wade, Bruce LaFountain, Craig Varjabedian, Tim Fitzharris, Thomas Vorce, Doug Coffin, and Judy Chicago.

A contributing editor of The American Poetry Review (APR), David translated Trilce, a book of 64 poems written in 1922 by the Peruvian poet Cesar Vallejo, 24 of which were inserted as a special supplement to the first issue of the APR. Prior to David's translation, Trilce was known as "the untranslatable book" because of its cryptic style of invented words, twisted syntax, and double meanings. David's translation was illustrated by Tom Palmore and published by Grossman/Viking in New York in 1973.

David also translated Amerika Amerikka Amerikkka by the Chilean novelist Fernando AlegrĀ”a, published by the University of Texas Press.

Various translations by David of Pablo Neruda and Nicanor Parra also appeared in the APR.

After moving to New Mexico in 1978, David worked at his limited-edition lithographic publishing entity Park Row Editions and was admitted to the New Mexico state and federal bar associations.

David was an avid golfer, skier, fly-fisherman, and scuba diver. He served on the boards of several non-profits, including The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts and New Mexico Experimental Glass Workshops. He published an ebook, Shadow Works of Thomas Vorce, through his publishing company Pixwest.

He will be missed by his many friends and his family. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to the Divers Alert Network or the charity of their choice.