Poet and visual artist Melinda Smith grew up in country Victoria on the banks of the Murray and moved to Melbourne with her family in 1964. She was educated at Yooralla, Balwyn, for six years until 1978, and at Glen Waverley Special School from 1979 until 1980. Smith, who has cerebral palsy, purchased a Canon communicator in 1979, a device that enabled her to communicate with others easily. She considers this a turning point in her life.
Smith has worked as a primary school teacher's aide at Eastwood, and for Scope (formerly the Spastic Society of Victoria) in that organisation's Communication Resource Centre. She has also been President of the Australian chapter of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC).
'Melinda Smith writes with exuberance and verve in a variety of forms, old and new. She is personal, opinionated,quirky, and you never know what a poem of hers will do. It is like some firework of unknown make and provenance, spluttering into incandescent life with more than a hint of danger. Wide-eyed surprise is her metier and unsurprisingly she is often to be found in the dashing pages of Quadrant where Les Murray has encouraged just such qualities for many years. (Publication summary)