Bruce Smith was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He went to Bucknell University where he stayed to earn a MA in English and worked at The Federal Penitentiary in Lewisburg. He has taught at Tufts, Boston, and Harvard Universities, on the West Coast at Portland State and Lewis & Clark College, and at University of Alabama before coming to Syracuse in 2002. He is the author of six books of poems, The Common Wages, Silver and Information (National Poetry Series, selected by Hayden Carruth), Mercy Seat, The Other Lover (University of Chicago), which was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, Songs for Two Voices, and Devotions, (Chicago, 2011). Devotions has been named a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award as well as the winner of the Williams Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. Poems of his have appeared in The Best American Poetry, 2003 and 2004, The New Yorker, The Nation, The New Republic, The Paris Review, The Partisan Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, and were included in the Best of the Small Presses anthology for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010. Essays and reviews of his have appeared in Harvard Review, Boston Review, and Newsday. He has been a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center and was a winner of the Discovery/The Nation prize. In 2000 he was a Guggenheim fellow and has twice been a recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts.