A lyrical search for wisdom and meaning in the life of a man growing up in the New South of desegregating schools, rock-and-roll music, mobile populations, and volatile wars, Little Boats, Unsalvaged displays the profound historical sensibility that has long marked the poetry of Dave Smith. Smith exhibits here a mature perspective on his childhood in a racially violent society and on his troubled search for happiness, whether sexual, professional, or aesthetic. To that, he adds a chorus of elegies for poets central to his understanding of his native region - including Edwin Muir, Robert Penn Warren, and Allen Tate - and a vision of poetry as the art that unites medieval and contemporary elements. Section by section, changes in subject, tempo, and even vocabulary offer at once a sense of unity and variety to the poems. Little Boats, Unsalvaged poses a polyphonic inquiry into the experiences and memories of the Vietnam-defined generation.