Poet R.T. (Rod) Smith was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Georgia and North Carolina. He earned a BA in philosophy from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and an MA in English from Appalachian State University. His collections of poetry include From the High Dive (1983), The Cardinal Heart (1991), Hunter-Gatherer (1996), Trespasser: Poems (1996), Split the Lark: Selected Poems (1999), Messenger (2001), Brightwood (2003), The Hollow Log Lounge (2003), and Outlaw Style: Poems (2008). He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts and has won the Cohen Prize from Ploughshares and a Pushcart Prize.

The South, the natural world, childhood, and the work of James Dickey are often cited as influences on Smith’s poetry. In Poetry, Bill Christophersen commented, “Smith uses a free verse as spare as a whittled stick to probe nature’s and childhood’s epiphanies and his Irish Catholic heritage.” Smith also published several collections of short stories, including Uke River Delivers (2006) and The Calaboose Epistles: Stories (2009).

Smith has taught at Auburn University and was coeditor of the Southern Humanities Review. Since 1995, he has been the editor of Shenandoah, the literary magazine from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, where he is writer-in-residence in the Department of English.

He lives in Virginia with his wife, poet Sarah Kennedy, with whom he coedited Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets of Virginia (2003).

  • Appeared in Poetry Magazine