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Born on June 27, 1947 in Moultrie, Georgia, Charlie Smith served as a Peace Corps volunteer from 1968 to 1970, then went on to earn a B.A. from Duke University in 1971 and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1984.
His debut collection of poems, Red Roads, was selected for the National Poetry Series and was published by Plume in 1987. It received the Great Lakes New Poets Award. His second collection, Indistinguishable from the Darkness, was published by W. W. Norton & Company in 1990.
Since then, Smith has published a number of other collections, most recently Word Comix (W. W. Norton & Co., 2009); Women of America (2004); Heroin and other poems (2000); Before and After (1995); and The Palms (1993).
He has also published five novels, including Cheap Ticket to Heaven (Henry Holt, 1996), Chimney Rock (1993), The Lives of the Dead (1990), Shine Hawk (1988), and Canaan (1985), and a collection of novellas entitled Crystal River (1991). In 2001, he received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Charlie Smith lives in New York City.