I teach creative writing and smoke a pipe.  I’m a late bloomer.  In fact, I’m still waiting to bloom.  I’m old enough to have grandchildren, but young enough to have a 10-year-old.  I married a beautiful woman who often reminds me of a model. Sometimes, I feel like Larry King, except for the money, success, and good health.

I drive a minivan, of course.  With every broken door-handle, it has stolen my hope, innocence, and manhood.  I now enter my van by the passenger sliding door—just like astronauts once boarded the Space Shuttle.

Poems, prose, nonsense, and photographs will fill these pages.  This is just the start of something good. I hope.


Randall A. Smith, Ph.D.
4114 Oakridge Drive
Jackson, MS 39216
(601) 832-7639


Ph.D. University of South Carolina, December 2000
Major Field: Twentieth-Century American Literature
Minor Field: Composition and Rhetoric
Emphasis: Seminar in Verse Composition with James Dickey

Dissertation: “Who Shall Deliver Me from the Body of This Death?”: James Dickey and the Redemptive Power of Language

M.A. University of South Carolina, December 1992
Major Field: American Literature
Thesis: “Robert Penn Warren and the Tale of Time”

B.B.A. University of Georgia, summa cum laude, June 1985
First Honor Graduate. Major: Finance

Professional Experience

Professor of English, Chair of Creative Writing Department, Belhaven University, Jackson, MS. August 2001 to present (promoted to Professor, granted tenure, and appointed Chair in May 2010). Designed, implemented, and direct creative writing program (one of only twenty-six BFA programs in creative writing in the country). Advise staff of Belhaven fine arts journal, The Brogue. Direct annual reading series for visiting writers (Ken Waldman, Beth Ann Fennelly, Jack Bedell, Carolyn Elkins, Susan Ludvigson, Paul Ruffin, Chris Tusa, Elizabeth Spencer, Tony Woodlief, Julie Kane, Darrell Bourque, Richard Tillinghast, and Neil White). Teach a variety of courses, including Introduction to Creative Writing, Advanced Poetry Writing, Writing for Children, and Mission & Calling for Writers.

Assistant Professor of English, Nyack College, Nyack, NY. August 1996 to August 2001. Taught composition, American literature, creative writing, and Foundations for Excellence (a freshman seminar course). Advised the student literary journal. Directed the annual poetry and fiction reading series on campus. Organized various field trips to complement classes, including trips to the Museum of Modern Art, the Dodge Poetry Festival, the 92nd Street Y Poetry Reading Series, and author-related sites like Sunnyside (the home of Washington Irving).

Writing Studio Director, Nyack College. August 1998 to August 2001. Designed and implemented a peer-led, small-group writing workshop serving approximately sixty to seventy under-prepared writing students each fall who were co-enrolled in freshman English classes. Responsibilities included hiring, training and overseeing peer leaders; conducting weekly staff meetings with leaders; designing diagnostic assignments for identifying Studio candidates; training faculty concerning program goals, purposes, and procedures; and coordinating program evaluation and revision.

Graduate Instructor of American Literature, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. January to August 1996. Taught two discussion sections of a sophomore-level survey of American literature from the colonial era to the present. Taught an upper-level seminar in Twentieth-Century American literature.

Graduate Instructor of Freshman English, University of South Carolina. August 1992 to December 1995. Taught first-year composition, including English 101 (introduction to expository and persuasive writing) and English 102 (introduction to literary analysis and research writing). Structured class activities and assignments to include freewriting, drafting, peer editing, journaling, revising, and portfolio grading.

Publications Editor, National Resource Center for the Freshman Year Experience, University of South Carolina. May to August 1995. Edited chapters written by various authors for inclusion in a monograph on academic advising and the first-year student.

Assistant Director of Freshman Composition, University of South Carolina. January to May 1995. Assisted the Director in training new graduate teaching assistants. Duties included co-instructing a class for new teaching assistants, performing classroom observations, and offering advice on teaching methods and grading.

Writing Studio Assistant, University of South Carolina. August to December 1993. Facilitated peer editing in four small groups for basic writers. Led group discussions on various aspects of planning, drafting, and revising essays.

Graduate Assistant for Conference Planning and University 101 Co-Instructor, National Resource Center for the Study of the Freshman Year Experience, University of South Carolina. August 1990 to August 1992. Assisted in organization and planning of fourteen national and three international conferences on issues related to first-year students. Co-taught a semester-long, first-year experience class, covering topics such as career planning, study skills, time and money management, and interpersonal relationship styles.

Courses Taught

Creative Writing

CWR 132: Principles of Editing
CWR 133: Procedures in Publishing
CWR 199: Creative Writing Colloquy
CWR 211: Introduction to Creative Writing
CWR 304: Advanced Poetry Writing
CWR 305: Advanced Fiction Writing
CWR 306: Advanced Nonfiction Writing
CWR 324: Forms and Themes in Poetry
CWR 325: Forms and Themes in Prose
CWR 481: Capstone Workshop in Creative Writing
CWR 482: Special Topics Workshop: Writing for Children
CWR 494: Teaching Creative Writing
CWR 495: Mission and Calling for Writers


ENG 101: Freshman English I
ENG 102: Freshman English II
ENG 203: Survey of World Literature I
ENG 204: Survey of World Literature II
ENG 205: Survey of American Literature I
ENG 206: Survey of American Literature II
ENG 235: Survey of Literature I (Aspire Program)
ENG 240: Survey of Literature II (Aspire Program)
ENG 445: Modern British Literature
ENG 452: Emergence of American Literature
ENG 455: Literature of the South
ENG 457: Development of the American Novel
ENG 461: Development of British and American Poetry
ENG 462: Modern Drama
ENG 465: Contemporary American Literature
ENG 480: Special Topics: African American Literature

Presentations and Conference Participation

“Creative Writing: The Shovel with Which We Dig.” Convention Speaker. National Federation of State Poetry Societies Annual Convention. Memphis, TN. June 2010.

“James Dickey’s Writing Process.” Panel Chair. Special James Dickey Conference (James Dickey: A Celebration of the Life and Works). University of South Carolina. Columbia, SC. January 2007.

“James Dickey as Literary Critic.” Panel Chair. South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference. Charlotte, NC. November 2006.

Poetry Writing Workshop. Presenter and Contest Judge. 2005 Fall Mini-Festival, Mississippi Poetry Society. Belhaven University, October 2005.

“James Dickey’s Creative Writing Classroom: Into the Maw of the Monster.” Presenter. South Atlantic Modern Language Association Conference. Roanoke, VA, November 2004.

Fiction Writing Workshop. Mississippi Community College Association Annual Writing Conference. Meridian, MS, April 2004.

Poetry Writing Panel. Panel Participant. 2003 Fall Mini-Festival, Mississippi Poetry Society. Belhaven University, November 2003.

“Ten Guidelines for Writing Poetry.” Presenter. Mississippi Poetry Society, 2002.

“World Novel” and “Contemporary Poetry” Sessions. Moderator. Northeast Regional Christianity and Literature Conference. Nyack College, November 1999.

“Androgynes, Liars, and the Ungrateful Dead: The Uses of Fiction in Tennessee Williams, James Dickey, and William Faulkner.” Panel Participant. New York College English Association Conference. St. John Fisher College, September 1997.

“Writing the Self: Personality Development and the Motivations for Student Private Writing.” Presenter. National Conference on the Freshman Year Experience. University of South Carolina, February 1997.

“Blaming the Victim: How We Encourage First-Year Students to Hate Poetry and What We Can Do about It.” Co-Presenter. National Conference on the Freshman Year Experience. University of South Carolina, February 1996.

“Grace, Good Works, and Glorification in Milton’s Comus.” Presenter. Midwestern Conference on Christianity and Literature. Greenville College, April 1995.

“Responding to Fear and Loathing: Three Non-Traditional Writing Assignments for First-Year College Students.” Panel Chair and Presenter. National Conference on the Freshman Year Experience. University of South Carolina, February 1995.

“Pedagogy as Institutional/Institutionalized Practice: Bringing a Program for Mainstreaming Basic Writers into Being.” Panel Participant. National Conference on College Composition and Communication. Nashville, Tennessee, March 1994.

“Time and Timelessness in the Poetry of Robert Penn Warren.” Presenter. Robert Penn Warren Colloquium. Western Kentucky University, April 1993.

“First-Year Student Perspectives on the First Year.” Panel Co-Chair. National Conference on the Freshman Year Experience. University of South Carolina, February 1992.

Book-Length Publications and Editing Projects

Hauling Mixed Freight: Teaching and Writing in the New Old World. Multifaceted discussion of how teaching creative writing and writing creatively have changed in the digital age while also remaining fundamentally unchanged. Co-authored with novelist Howard Bahr. Work in Progress.

Online English Grammar, Punctuation, and Writing Tutorial. Created for the Institute for Professional Development, University of Phoenix. Co-authored with Laura Smith. July through November 2003. Approximately six hundred pages of lessons, examples, review questions, and test banks.

First-Year Academic Advising: Patterns in the Present, Pathways to the Future. Eds. M. Lee Upcraft and Gary L. Kramer. Textual Ed. Randall Smith. Columbia, SC: National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, 1995.

Scholarly and Popular Publications

“Ten Things I Learned Teaching and Writing.” Featured column. Portico Magazine (Fall 2013).

Interviewed for “Training a New Generation of Christian Writers.” Feature article on the creative writing program at Belhaven University in “Arts and Culture” section of byFaith 25 (Fall 2009): 28-29.

“James Dickey and His Reader: The Movement from Drowning to Deliverance.” The Way We Read James Dickey: Critical Approaches for the Twenty-first Century. Eds. William B. Thesing and Theda Wrede. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina P, 2009.

“The Love That Moves the Sun: Creative Writing and the Pursuit of Sacramental Vision.” The Creative Spirit 4.3 (2006): 53-58.

Interviewed for “A New Direction for Christian Publishing?” by Stephen McGarvey. byFaith 6 (November/December 2005): 40-43.

“Writer, Reader, Student: Into the Maw of the Monster.” James Dickey Newsletter 21.2 (Spring 2005): 18-24.

“James Dickey Interview: Part Two, November 7, 1995.” James Dickey Newsletter 21.1 (Fall 2004): 29-42.

“James Dickey Interview: Part One, August 11, 1995.” James Dickey Newsletter 21.1 (Fall 2004): 1-28.

“The Wonder of It All: The Relationship Between Mystery and Art.” The Creative Spirit 4.1 (Fall 2004): 4-9.

“A Pilgrim’s Progress to the Heavenly City.” The Creative Spirit 3.1 (2003): 11-13.

Poetry Writing Tip. Become a Published Writer. Ed. Sheila Seifert. online e-book. Fall 2003.

Rev. of Light for the Orphans, by Wilmer Mills. Planet Weekly 18 Sept. 2002, 9.

Creative Publications Founder, developer, and writer for creative blog (established 2014). Stats as of June 10, 2015: 102 posts (poetry), 5,000 views, 86 followers.

“The Day of Disappearance.” Rock and Sling 4.1 (2007): 8.

“The Road” and “Talking to the Dove.” Ruminate 3 (2007): 29-30.

“Water and Stone.” Yemassee 3.2 (1995): 49.

“from My Travels Among the Spiders.” Yemassee 1.2 (1993): 3-4.

“In Motion.” Yemassee 1.1 (1993): 6.

“Ancestors.” The Best of Sandhills (twenty-year retrospective anthology). Ed. Walter Evans. Augusta, GA: Augusta College Press, 1993. 144-45.

“After the Band.” The Best of Sandhills (twenty-year retrospective anthology). Ed. Walter Evans. Augusta, GA: Augusta College Press, 1993. 146-47.


Recipient, William Winter Scholar. Nominated by Belhaven University. Recognized at the 26th annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration, February 2015.

Recipient, HEADWAE Award. Belhaven University, fall 2011.

Nominee, HEADWAE Award. Belhaven University, fall 2006, fall 2007, fall 2008. (One of three faculty members nominated by Belhaven University faculty at large.)

Recipient, Mississippi Humanities Council Teaching Award. Belhaven University, fall 2005.

Edmund A. Ramsaur Fellowship (awarded by Department Chair for work in Composition and Rhetoric). Department of English, University of South Carolina, spring 1995.

Irene D. Elliot Teaching Award (awarded for excellence in teaching first-year composition). Department of English, University of South Carolina, spring 1994.

First Honor Graduate (one of seven co-valedictorians for the graduating class of 1985). University of Georgia, June 1985.

Professional Activities

Poetry Contest Judge, Mississippi Poetry Society, Annual Festival. Belhaven University, fall 2007 and fall 2009.

Sponsor and Host, African American History Month Reading. Belhaven University, February 2007 and 2008.

Executive Committee Member, The James Dickey Society. 2006 to 2009.

Member, Executive Planning Committee, The James Dickey Conference. University of South Carolina, January 2007.

Convener and Chair, Executive Committee for South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA) Conference Session. James Dickey Society, November 2006.

Member, Editorial Board, The Creative Spirit. Belhaven University, 2006 to 2007.

Secretary, Executive Committee for SAMLA Session. James Dickey Society, fall 2005 to fall 2006.

Sponsor and Host, Student Reading Series. Belhaven University, fall and spring, 2001 to present.

Sponsor and Host, Visiting Writer Reading Series. Belhaven University, fall and spring, 2002 to present.

Faculty Advisor, The Brogue (Belhaven University Fine Arts Journal). Belhaven University, 2001 to present.

Poetry Judge, Mississippi Poetry Society Fall Mini-Festival. Jackson, MS, November 2004.

Poetry Judge, Mississippi Poetry Society Annual Meeting. Jackson, MS, October 2004.

Fiction Judge, Mississippi Community College Association Annual Writing Conference. Meridian, MS, April 2004.

Director, Fall/Spring Poetry Reading Series. Nyack College, Nyack, NY, 1996 to 2001.

Faculty Advisor, Nyack College Journal of Literature and Art. Nyack College, 1996 to 2001.

Professional Memberships

The American Poetry Journal (Facebook)
Associated Writing Programs
Conference on Christianity and Literature
Gulf Coast Association of Creative Writing Teachers
James Dickey Society
Mississippi Poetry Society
Society for the Study of Southern Literature (Facebook)
South Atlantic Modern Language Association
Southern Literary Festival
Teachers and Writers Collaborative
Voices of Poetry (Facebook)


5 thoughts on “Round-a-Bout

  1. Dr. Smith! I was feeling nostalgic reading these southern-y poems, and then I realized who was writing them (!!!) Greetings from an erstwhile student — was 2006 really that long ago? :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is SO good to see your smiling face! And, no, 2006 was not long ago at all. I still brag to new students about your brilliant poems. Jennifer follows me on Twitter, so I keep in touch with her a bit. I’m back on Facebook too recently. Trying to get the Belhaven Creative Writing page running again also. Hope you are well and having adventures : )


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