The Position of Writer-in-Residence at St. Christopher's School
In the school community, the Writer-in-Residence symbolizes and clarifies the methods and aspirations of the thinker and the working artist. The Writer-in-Residence encourages good writing in all genres and promotes exploration of and appreciation for all of the arts, regardless of medium. Through conventional lecture, surprising innovation, and creative example, the Writer-in-Residence models and teaches precise and memorable writing in all genres, poetry and prose, fiction and nonfiction. The Writer-in-Residence establishes a regional, national and international reputation by publishing original work in periodicals, anthologies, and books.
Ron Smith | Writer-in-Residence | George O. Squires Chair of Distinguished Teaching
In June 2014 Governor Terry McAuliffe appointed Ron Smith Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 2016 Ron was awarded the Ellen Anderson Poetry Prize.
Ron Smith is the author of the books The Humility of the Brutes (forthcoming, LSU Press), Its Ghostly Workshop (2013, LSU Press), Moon Road: Poems 1986-2005 (2007, LSU Press), and Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery (1988, University Presses of Florida). Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery was judged by Margaret Atwood "a close runner-up" for the National Poetry Series Open Competition and by Donald Hall “the runner-up” for the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize.
Mr. Smith was an Inaugural Winner of the prestigious Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize; in 2006 he became one of the Curators of that prize. He's the recipient of Southern Poetry Review’s Guy Owen Prize (judge, Linda Pastan), Poetry Northwest’s Theodore Roethke Prize, and several other awards.
His poems have appeared in numerous national and international magazines and journals, 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, and have also appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Italy.
During his time as Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2014 to 2016, Ron Smith gave readings and lectures from Manassas to Petersburg, from the Valley to the Tidewater, met with young people and with adult groups all across the Commonwealth to celebrate Virginia’s landscape, her history, and especially her poets. He appeared at Monticello and Mount Vernon, where he read poems about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. And Mr. Smith carried Virginia’s poetry abroad. From British Columbia to Dublin, Ireland, to the Italian Alps, Poet Laureate Ron Smith shared his love of poetry and of the Commonwealth though readings and presentations.
Ron Smith chaired the English Department at St. Christopher’s for twenty-one years and has taught courses in poetry and poetry writing at the University of Mary Washington, Virginia Commonwealth University, and University of Richmond. He has taught Elder Hostel courses in "Poetry & the American Civil War,” as well as the short summer courses "Edgar Allan Poe" and "Classic Poems" to the residents of Westminster Canterbury. Through the Arts & Humanities Center of the Richmond public schools Mr. Smith provided in-service training for Advanced Placement English teachers. He sometimes conducts workshops for elementary, middle, and high school teachers and students at private and public schools. He has read his own work at numerous schools, universities, libraries, museums, and art galleries. His course on the life and work of Edgar Allan Poe was the very first offering in St. Christopher’s Chamberlayne Scholars series. He occasionally teaches courses in the University of Richmond’s Master of Liberal Arts Program.
Mr. Smith has served as President of the Poetry Society of Virginia, and for many years served as Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the Edgar Allan Poe Museum and as a Trustee for James River Writers. He now serves on Advisory Boards for James River Writers and the Poetry Society of Virginia. He has been a Reader for New Virginia Review and served for some years on its Advisory Panel. For four years he was Poetry Editor of The Richmond Quarterly. In 1980, as "Wordsmith," he wrote and performed radio essays on the subject of language for The Chickahominy Review on WRFK radio. Since 2009, he has been the Poetry Editor for Aethlon: The Journal of Sports Literature. He also edited the poetry for Aethlon’s anthology issue, XXIX: 2.
Mr. Smith grew up in Savannah, Georgia, and attended college on a football scholarship, playing for the Tangerine Bowl Championship University of Richmond Spiders, the first-ever “Team of Distinction” to be inducted into the Spider Sports Hall of Fame. He and his wife Delores travel as much as they can, especially to Ireland and Italy.
[updated 15 March 2016]