Rod Smith was born in 1962 in Gallipolis, Ohio. He received an MFA from George Mason University in 2005.
He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Deed (University of Iowa Press, 2007), Fear the Sky (Narrow House, 2005), Music or Honesty (Roof Books, 2003), The Good House (Spectacular Books, 2001), and Protective Immediacy (Roof Books, 1999). Smith co-edited The Selected Letters of Robert Creeley (University of California Press, 2014).
About his book Protective Immediacy, the poet Alice Notley said, “This is a sophisticated poetry whose pleasures come from sounds felt right in the mouth while reading silently. And from feeling, now and then, that one is exactly in among the gears of mind, however it works, what we don't know.”
Since 1984, Smith has edited and published Ariel Magazine, and since 1989, he has served as the publisher of Edge Books.
He has taught creative writing at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Towson University, and the Corcoran College of Art + Design. He currently teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has managed the independent bookstore Bridge Street Books in Washington, D.C. since 1993.
He lives in Washington, D.C.