American poet, editor, and translator known for Living on the Surface, So Long at the Fair, The Ways We Touch, and other poetry collections. He was the 1991 recipient of the Poets' Prize and the 1963 recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship.
He studied biology at Arkansas State University and zoology at the University of Arkansas. He published his debut poetic work, A Circle of Stone, in 1965.
He was born with a congenital disorder known as spina bifida.
He married Jordan Williams, with whom he had three children. The couple's daughter, Lucinda Williams, grew up to be a Grammy Award-winning singer.
He read his poem "Of History and Hope" at the 1997 presidential inauguration of fellow Arkansan Bill Clinton.