An American author and poet, he is best known for Dagon (1968), a psychological thriller with supernatural elements. His other works include I Am One of You Forever (1985) and Castle Tzingal (1984).
After studying at Duke University, he taught English for forty years at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
He was the Poet Laureate of North Carolina for five years.
He was born in Canton, North Carolina. He and his wife Susan became parents to a son named Heath.
He and Randall Jarrell were both poet laureates.