Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1944, Claude Clayton Smith grew up in nearby Stratford, where he graduated from Frank Scott Bunnell High School. He holds a BA from Wesleyan, an MAT from Yale, an MFA from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, and a DA from Carnegie-Mellon.

He began his teaching career at Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland, in 1967, moving on to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, in 1978. He then taught for two decades at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio, taking early retirement in 2006. He was named ONU Professor of English, Emeritus, in 2008, during which year he served as the Claridge Writer-in-Residence at Illinois College.

He is the author of eight books, co-editor/translator of two others, plus a variety of short fiction, poetry, essays, and plays. In 2009 he moved to Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife Elaine, who has been his first reader and editor since their marriage in 1976. They have two adult sons. Besides reading and writing, his hobbies include fishing, golf, and softball. He was a licensed professional boxing judge in Ohio.