Born in Canton, North Carolina, Fred Chappell earned a Master's degree at Duke University. He has written numerous novels and books of poetry, including First and Last Words, Midquest, More Shapes than One, and I Am One of You Forever. Among the awards Chappell has received in his illustrious career are the Sir Walter Raleigh Prize in 1973, the North Carolina Award for Literature in 1980, Yale University Library's Bollingen Prize in poetry in 1985, and the Aiken Taylor Award in poetry in 1996. Chappell is Burlington Industries Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He also writes about poetry every month as a News & Observer book columnist. He was selected by the governor of North Carolina to be the state's poet laureate in 1997, a position he held until 2002.