Smith, graduate of VCU Creative Writing M.F.A. program, named poet laureate of Virginia

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Ron Smith, an award-winning poet
Ron Smith, an award-winning poet

Ron Smith, an award-winning poet and a 1985 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University's Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program, on Friday was named the poet laureate of Virginia.

"I am delighted and humbled to be poet laureate of the 'Cradle of Presidents' (and also of poets)," Smith said.

Smith, who is the writer-in-residence and George O. Squires Chair of Distinguished Teaching at St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, is the author of three books of poetry, "Its Ghostly Workshop" (2013), "Moon Road: Poems 1986-2005" (2007) and "Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery" (1988).

He has won numerous awards for his work, including the Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize in 2005, Southern Poetry Review’s Guy Owen Prize and Poetry Northwest’s Theodore Roethke Prize. He was a finalist for the position of poet laureate of Virginia four times previously.

"As poet laureate, I hope to celebrate poetry in general and Virginia poets in particular," he said. "Virginia is rich in poets, poets who deserve much more recognition and more readers than they currently have."

Smith's work has been published in a number of national and international publications, including The Nation, The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, College English, Shenandoah, Kansas Quarterly, The Tampa Review, Blackbird, Plume, Puerto del Sol and Verse.

In addition to his MFA from VCU, Smith holds degrees in philosophy, humanities and creative writing from the University of Richmond, and also studied British drama at Oxford University, writing at Bennington College, and Renaissance and modernist culture at the Ezra Pound Center for Literature in Merano, Italy.

He chaired the English department at St. Christopher's for 21 years and has taught courses in poetry and poetry writing at the University of Mary Washington, VCU and the University of Richmond.


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