Poet Lewis Conrad “Rad” Smith III was born in Iowa City and grew up in Minnesota. He earned an MBA at the University of Virginia and studied poetry with Elizabeth Bishop at Harvard. He was a technology executive, with a second-degree black belt in karate, until a late-stage diagnosis of lung cancer led him to retire early and devote his time to poetry. His debut collection, Distant Early Warning (2005), was published posthumously with an introduction by poet Donald Hall.