Donald Justice was born in Miami, Florida, on August 12, 1925. A graduate of the University of Miami, he attended the universities of North Carolina, Stanford, and Iowa.
Justice’s books include Collected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004); New and Selected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995); A Donald Justice Reader: Selected Poetry and Prose (Middlebury College Press, 1991); The Sunset Maker: Poems, Stories, a Memoir (Atheneum, 1987); Selected Poems (Atheneum, 1979), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize; Departures (Atheneum, 1973); Night Light (Wesleyan University Press, 1967); and The Summer Anniversaries (Wesleyan University Press, 1960), which was the Academy of American Poets’ Lamont Poetry Selection in 1959.
Justice won the Bollingen Prize in Poetry in 1991, and received grants in poetry from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. From 1997 to 2003, he served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
During his life, Justice held teaching positions at Syracuse University, the University of California at Irvine, Princeton University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Iowa. From 1982 until his retirement in 1992, he taught at the University of Florida, Gainesville.
After retiring, Justice lived in Iowa City with his wife, Jean Ross, until his death on August 6, 2004.