Carolyn Kizer was born in Spokane, Washington on December 10, 1924. At 17, she had a poem, When You Are Distant, published in The New Yorker. She received a bachelor's degree from Sarah Lawrence College in 1945 and afterward did graduate work in Chinese at Columbia University. In 1959, she helped found the journal Poetry Northwest and served as its editor until 1965. Her first collection of poetry, The Ungrateful Garden, was published in 1961. Her other collections include Knock Upon Silence and Harping On. Her best known work was the five-part cycle Pro Femina. She received the Pulitzer Prize in 1985 for her collection Yin and a Poetry Society of America Frost Medal in 1988. A skilled translator, she translated works from Urdu, Macedonian, Yiddish, and Chinese, including the Tang poet Tu Fu and the a modern woman poet Shu Ting. Kizer died from complications of dementia on October 9, 2014 at the age of 89.