May Swenson was born in Logan, Utah, in 1919 and later received a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University. In addition to writing numerous volumes of poetry, Swenson also wrote prose, translated poems from Swedish, and wrote a one-act play first produced in 1966. She taught poetry at Bryn Mawr, Purdue University, the University of North Carolina, and the University of California at Riverside; lectured and gave readings at over fifty universities in the United States; and conducted writing workshops at the University of Indiana Writers’ Conference and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. From 1959 to 1966, Swenson worked as an editor at New Directions publishers in New York City, and from 1980 to 1989 she served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Her numerous awards include the William Rose Benet Prize of the Poetry Society of America, an award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and a Guggenheim fellowship. In 1978, she was nominated for a National Book Award for New and Selected: Things Taking Place, and in 1987 was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle award for In Other Words. She died in 1989 in Delaware.