American poet, short story author, novelist, and former South Carolina Poet Laureate. Her literary works include Little Chicago Suite (poems), Appalachian Trilogy (short fiction), and The Lynching (novel).
Her first poems were published when she was in first grade; later, she graduated from Greenville High School and Furman University and continued writing and publishing.
She was reading a poem for the 1999 inauguration of the South Carolina governor when her paper was blown away; however, without missing a beat, she recited her poem from memory.
She married Don Lewis, a sculptor, in 1958. The couple subsequently lived on a wildlife sanctuary in Greenville County, South Carolina.
She and The Color Purple author, Alice Walker, were southern-born literary contemporaries.