Hayden Carruth was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, and was educated at the University of North Carolina and the University of Chicago. He taught at Syracuse University for many years and has worked for several literary magazines, including as the editor of Poetry magazine. He has published over thirty books of poetry and criticism, and has been awarded several top prizes. Much of his poetry, including "The Bearer," is set in Northern Vermont, a setting with which Carruth often mixes his radical political beliefs. He frequently combines rural life with verbal resourcefulness, strongly influenced by jazz and blues music.
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"POL has opened my mind to many kinds of poetry. Before competing, my experience with poetry was limited to Dr. Seuss. I now find myself making literary references, having analytical conversations with my peers and mentors about poetry, and recalling poems throughout my day."