Jack Elliot Myers was born on November 29, 1941, in Lynn, Massachusetts and was raised in Winthrop Beach, near Boston. He earned his BA in English literature from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1970 and an MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa in 1972. While in his twenties and thirties, Myers took various jobs, including house painter and café manager, while studying poetry. He moved to Dallas in 1975.
Myers is the author of eighteen books of and on the subject of poetry, including The Glowing River: New & Selected Poems (Invisible Cities Press, 2001), winner of the 2001 Violent Crow Award for Best Literary Book in Texas and As Long As You’re Happy (Graywolf Press, 1986), winner of the 1985 National Poetry Series selected by Seamus Heaney. Myers also served as an editor for textbooks, reference books, and anthologies, in addition to contributing work to them.
During his career, Myers received numerous other awards, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and multiple university residencies.
Myers joined the faculty at Southern Methodist University in 1975 as an assistant professor of English. He later served as director of the creative writing program, a position that he held until his death. From 1981 to 2005, Myers was also on the faculty of the MFA program in writing at Vermont College of the Arts. He was co-vice president for the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) from 1993 to 1995 and served as poetry editor at three journals. Additionally, Myers was poetry consultant at Autumn House Press in 2003. With his wife and fellow writer, Thea Temple, Myers co-founded The Writers’ Garret.
Jack Myers died on November 23, 2009, in Mesquite, Texas, due to liver failure.