A Belgian-American novelist, poet, and memoirist, she is best known for such non-fiction works as Plant Dreaming Deep and Journal of a Solitude. Her novels include Shadow of a Man and Faithful are the Wounds; some of her most notable poetry collections are Halfway to Silence and A Durable Fire.
She attended Cambridge High and Latin School in Massachusetts during the 1920s. As a teenager, she took theater classes but spent the majority of her time writing poetry.
Her first poetry collection, Encounter in April, was published in 1937.
She was born in Belgium to an historian father and an artist mother. In 1945, she met Judy Matlack, who would become her partner for the next decade and a half.
Her family fled Belgium after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand.