Jeff Simpson was born and raised in southwest Oklahoma. He is the author of Vertical Hold (Steel Toe Books, 2011), a finalist for The National Poetry Series. He has also been a finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize and the LUMINA prize in poetry. He holds an MFA in poetry from Oklahoma State University and was the founding editor of the online arts and literature magazine, The Fiddleback. His poems have appeared in Forklift, Ohio; Prairie Schooner; Copper Nickel; Poet Lore, Harpur Palate, and others. Before joining the Academy of American Poets, he taught literature and creative writing at SUNY: Old Westbury and Queens College, and served as the advertising coordinator at Poets & Writers Magazine.