Poet Mark Smith-Soto was born in Washington D.C. and was raised in Costa Rica until the age of 11. Raised bilingually, he earned a BA in English from the University of Maryland and both an MA and PhD in comparative literature from the University of California-Berkeley. Smith-Soto’s poetry explores his Latino heritage and the memories of his boyhood living with his mother’s extended family in Costa Rica. He is the author of the poetry collections Our Lives Are Rivers (2003) and Any Second Now (2006).
His awards include a fellowship in creative writing from the National Endowment for the Arts; he won North Carolina Writers’ Network’s Persephone Competition for his chapbook Green Mango Collage (2000), as well as their Randall Jarrell-Harperprints Poetry Competition for the chapbook Shafts (2001). Smith-Soto is a professor of romance languages, and was the founding director of the Center for Creative Writing in the Arts, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.