American poet and novelist whose award-winning works include A Long and Happy Life and Kate Vaiden. The former work received the
He grew up in rural North Carolina and attended Duke University on a full scholarship. He later became a much-respected English professor at his alma mater.
He survived spinal cancer, but was wheelchair-bound from the mid-1980s until his death from heart disease in 2011.
He was gay and chose to live alone throughout his adult life.
He and singer/songwriter James Taylor collaborated on a popular song called "Copperline."