Ruth Stone was born in Roanoke, Virginia in 1915. By the age of 19, she was a married woman and studying at the University of Illinois. While there, she met Walter Stone, who became her second husband after she divorced her first husband. While on sabbatical in England in 1959, Walter Stone hung himself at the age of 42. Her first collection, In an Iridescent Time, was published in 1959. Her other works include Topography and Other Poems, American Milk, The Solution, Simplicity, and What Love Comes To. She won the National Book Award in 2002 for In the Next Galaxy. She taught English and creative writing at the State University of New York in Binghamton. She died of natural causes on November 19, 2011 at the age of 96.