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Erin Elizabeth Smith

Erin Elizabeth Smith

Erin Elizabeth Smith smiles in from of a floor to ceiling bookcase

Distinguished Lecturer

1203B McClung Tower


Erin Elizabeth Smith (she/her) is the Executive Director of Sundress Publications and the Sundress Academy for the Arts and 2023 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. She is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, most recently DOWN (SFASU 2020) and the founder of the Best of the Net Anthology. Her work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Guernica, Ecotone, Crab Orchard, and Mid-American.Smith is a Distinguished Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and the Poet Laureate of Oak Ridge, TN.


  • Ph.D., University of Southern Mississippi (2009)
  • M.F.A., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2006)
  • B.A., Binghamton University (2004)


  • Ghost || Animal. Milk & Cake Press, 2023.
  • Down. Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2020.
  • The Fear of Being Found. Los Angeles: Zoetic Press, 2016. (Re-release)
  • The Naming of Strays. Randolph, MA: Gold Wake Press, 2011.
  • The Fear of Being Found. Burnsville, MN: Three Candles Press, 2008.

Edited Anthologies

  • Frazier-Foley, Fox, Erin Elizabeth Smith, eds. Political Punch: Contemporary Poems on the Politics of Identity. Knoxville, TN: Sundress Publications, 2016.
  • Couture, Beth, Rhonda Lott, T.A. Noonan, & Erin Elizabeth Smith, eds. Not Somewhere Else But Here: A Contemporary Anthology of Women and Place. Knoxville, TN: Sundress Publications, 2014.

Selected Publications

  • “Porcinis,” The Kenyon Review, forthcoming.
  • “Skin and Bones,” “When You Ask If I’m Okay,” South Carolina Review Vol. 55.1 (Fall 2022): 101-103.
  • “Spring 2021,” “What I Know About Patience,” lickety~split (2022) <>.
  • “Deadly Galerina,” “When You Asked Me To Tell You What Doesn’t Make Me Sad.” Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment (2022).
  • “The 32-Cent Heart,” “Mushroom Rain,” Los Angeles Review (2022)
  • “Aubade Without You,” “The Remains,” Border Crossing Vol. 11 (2021)
  • “But This Joke is Funny,” “After Six Months of Emails, I Have Dinner with the Much Older Man,” and “His Children Watch from Picture Frames,” Waxwing XXI.
  • “Frieze,” Guernica 11 Apr. 2019.
  • “All I Am Sometimes Is the Next Meal” and “When we can’t sleep, we make bread,” Crab Orchard Review 24:2
  • “Jenny,” diode 12:3.
  • “Like the Wolf,” Tupelo Quarterly V19.
  • “The Ghost Kid Speaks,” Ecotone Fall/Winter 2016: 166.
  • “Chances Are,” interrupture 20 5 Jun. 2017.
  • Sansa to Snow White,” REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters 40.2 30 May 2017.
  • “Dot Tires of Everyone Assuming She’s Straight,” Contrary Magazine Autumn 2016.
  • “Dot Learns the Problem with Naming the Animals,” “Dot Finds the Ghost Cocks,” “First Night in the New House,” “Dot Dreams of Austin Again,” Permafrost 38.2 21 Aug. 2016.
  • “Dot Tires of Everyone Assuming She’s Straight,” Contrary Autumn 2016.

Professional Service

  • Executive Director, Sundress Academy for the Arts
  • Executive Director, Sundress Publications
  • Founding Editor, Best of the Net Anthology
  • Founding Editor, Stirring : A Literary Collection

Awards, Honors & Grants

  • Winner, Poets Laureate Fellowship, Academy of American Poets, 2023.
  • Inaugural Poet Laureate of Oak Ridge, TN, 2022-2024.
  • Winner, Hodges Teaching Award for Lecturers, University of Tennessee, 2021.
  • Residency Fellowship Recipient, wildacres, 2021.
  • Winner, Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award, University of Tennessee Alumni Association, 2020.
  • Winner, Chancellor’s Teaching Award, University of Tennessee, 2017
  • Inductee, East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame (Poetry), 2017.
  • Commencement Speaker, Fountainhead College, 2014.
  • Winner, Hodges Teaching Award for Lecturers, 2011.

Associations & Organizations

  • Member, Association of Writers and Writing Programs