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Poet and novelist Charlie Smith was born in Moultrie, Georgia. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy and, after serving in the Peace Corps in Micronesia, earned a BA from Duke University and an MFA from the University of Iowa. He has written five New York Times Notable Books and has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. He has also won the Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine. His numerous books of poetry include Red Roads (1987), which was chosen for the National Poetry Series and received the Great Lakes New Poets Award. His poetry—candid, lush, lyrical—is informed by the Southern landscape and voices of his youth, and his style is reminiscent of John Ashbery and Charles Wright. Praising Heroin (2000), poet and critic David Kirby writes that, with their unflinching attention to the cloud of addiction and recovery, and their use of heroin as a metaphor for desire, Smith’s poems “remind us that we don’t really know what beauty is until we’ve looked hard at the horror that throws beauty into bright relief.” Smith has also published widely as a novelist. He won the Aga Khan Prize from The Paris Review for his novella Crystal River. He has taught at the University of Alabama and Princeton University. He lives in New York City.
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