Primus St. John was born in New York City, New York, in 1939. He attended the University of Maryland and Lewis and Clark College. His collections of poetry include Communion: Poems, 1976-1998 (Copper Canyon Press, 1999), which won the Western States Book Award; Dreamer (1990), which received the 1990 Hazel Hall Award for Poetry; Love is Not a Consolation: It is a Light (1982); and Skin on the Earth (1976). He is also the editor of the anthologies From Here We Speak (1993) and Zero Makes Me Hungry (1976). His work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. Through the National Endowment for the Arts, St. John helped to initiate the Poet's in the Schools Program. He has been a professor at Portland State University for more than thirty years, teaching English literature and creative writing. He lives in Portland, Oregon.