On May 27, 1941, Simon J. Ortiz was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He attended Fort Lewis College and the University of New Mexico for undergraduate studies. He received his MFA as an International Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa's Writer's School in 1969.
His books of poetry include: Telling and Showing Her: The Earth, The Land (Just Buffalo Literary Center, 1995); After and Before the Lightning (1994); Woven Stone (1992); From Sand Creek: Rising In This Heart Which Is Our America (1981), for which he received a Pushcart Prize; A Good Journey (1977); Going for the Rain (1976); and Naked in the Wind (1971).
He has also published children's books, memoirs, non-fiction, and short stories, and served as editor of various books and anthologies.
Ortiz is a recipient of the Lila Wallace Reader's Digest Writer's Award, the New Mexico Humanities Council Humanitarian Award, the National Endowment for the Arts Discovery Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and was an Honored Poet at the 1981 White House Salute to Poetry. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Returning the Gift Festival of Native Writers.
Ortiz lives in the Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico, where he was lieutenant governor and a consulting editor of the Pueblo of Acoma Press. He has taught writing and Native American literature at various institutions, and currently teaches at the University of Toronto.