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Derik Smith is a professor in the University at Albany English Department. His teaching and writing is anchored in the analysis of American culture and, particularly, African American literary culture. In 2018 The University of Michigan Press will publish his book, Robert Hayden In Verse: New Histories of African American Poetry and the Black Arts Era. In addition to his university work, Smith has more than five years of teaching experience in the New York State prison system. A lifelong Baha’i, he lives with his wife and their three children in Albany, NY.