Galway Kinnell was born on February 1, 1927 in Providence, Rhode Island. During World War II, he served in the Navy. He received a B.A. from Princeton University in 1948 and a M.A. from the University of Rochester in 1949. He taught writing at many schools around the world, including universities in France, Australia, and Iran, and served as director of the creative writing programs at New York University. He wrote several collections of poetry including Body Rags, The Book of Nightmares, Walking down the Stairs, When One Has Lived a Long Time, Imperfect Thirst, and Mortal Acts, Mortal Words. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and a National Book Award for Selected Poems in 1983. He also wrote one novel entitled Black Light. He died from leukemia on October 28, 2014 at the age of 87.