African-American poet who was named Poet Laureate of California in 2005. He earned the prestigious American Book Award for two of his publications: The Sound of Dreams Remembered and Bodies and Soul: Musical Memoirs.
He edited a collegiate literary magazine during his time at the University of Michigan.
His early poetry collections include Geography of the Near Past and The Song Turning Back into Itself.
He married Arline Young in 1963; the couple's son was born eight years later.
He and poet Frank Stanford were both born in Mississippi.