Dave Smith (1942- ) – OHIO University Libraries

American poet Dave Smith was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. He has studied and taught in a number of places, including Athens, Ohio, where he received his Ph.D. from Ohio University in 1976. He has published more than a dozen collections of poems, along with fiction and volumes of essays.

He has taught literature and creative writing at a number of universities. He spent twelve years at Louisiana State University, where he was also poetry editor for The Southern Review. From 2002 until 2013, Smith was Elliott Coleman Professor of Poetry at Johns Hopkins University.

Quoting from the online Encyclopedia Virginia article on him:

While Smith has written both fiction and criticism, his most significant work is poetry. Although a body of verse as wide-ranging as his defies classification, certain characteristics appear throughout his work. First, his poems often shift dynamically between realism and imaginative flights. Second, his work shows an exceptional dramatic sensibility. Third, he displays an abiding nostalgia for the South, especially his Virginia youth, but is also responsive to contemporary social tensions, particularly racial conflict. Finally, he experiments endlessly with various forms and meters, and is notably adept at longer lines that carry lively rhythmic force without being awkward.

Smith’s works include his first-published collection of poems Bull Island, as well as, The Fisherman’s Whore (first published in 1974 by the Ohio University Press), Cumberland  Station, Goshawk, Antelope, and Homage to Edgar Allan Poe.

His awards include National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in poetry in 1976 and 1981, the  Virginia Prize in Poetry in 1988, and the Prairie  Schooner Reader’s Award in 1995.

Our Rare Book Collection has well over 200 volumes by Dave Smith. We invite you to visit Archives and Special Collections to consult works by him, or other parts of our collection. See our Hours on the left sidebar of the Archives and Special Collections home page. In addition, the Libraries have a number of volumes about Smith: biographies, critical interpretations, and the like.

Photo source: Poetry Foundation