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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"With a $20,000 prize, I never imagined POL being this much fun. The competitions were more about meeting and talking with the other competitors, having a great time and enjoying the poetry. I also never knew I could find so much in myself just from reciting poems."