Michael S. Harper was born in Brooklyn New York, in 1938. He obtained a BA and MA from what is now known as California State University, and an MFA from the University of Iowa. He has published more than ten books of poetry, many of which have either won, or been nominated for, some of the USA's most prestigious literary awards including the National Book Award and the Black Academy of Arts and Letters Award.
Michael Harper was the first Poet Laureate of the State of Rhode Island (1988-1993) and has received many other honours, including a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation and a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Award. He is University Professor and Professor English at Brown University, where he has taught since 1970. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.