Jean Valentine was born in Chicago, earned her B.A. from Radcliffe College, and has lived most of her life in New York City. She won the Yale Younger Poets Award for her first book, Dream Barker, in 1965. Her 13th book of poetry is Shirt in Heaven, published by Copper Canyon Press in 2015.

Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems 1965 - 2003 was the winner of the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry. (All of her books are listed below.)

Jean was the State Poet of New York for two years, starting in the spring of 2008. She received the 2009 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, and has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and awards from the NEA, The Bunting Institute, The Rockefeller Foundation, The New York Council for the Arts, and The New York Foundation for the Arts, as well as the Maurice English Prize, the Teasdale Poetry Prize, and The Poetry Society of America's Shelley Memorial Prize in 2000. In 2014 she was given an award for exceptional accomplishment in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

She has taught at Sarah Lawrence College, the Graduate Writing Program of New York University, Columbia University, and the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan.

"Looking into a Jean Valentine poem is like looking into a lake: you can see your own outline, and the shapes of the upper world, reflected among rocks, underwater life, glint of lost bottles, drifted leaves. The known and familiar become one with the mysterious and half-wild, at the place where consciousness and the subliminal meet. This is a poetry of the highest order, because it lets us into spaces and meanings we couldn't approach in any other way."
-- Adrienne Rich

Jean Valentine was bom in Chicago and raised mostly in New York and Boston. She has published five collections of poetry, most recently Home • Deep • Blue, New <6 Selected Poems (Alice James Books, 1989). Alice James will publish her new book, The River at Wolf, in the spring of 1992. She has earned fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, The Bunting Institute, and The Rockefeller Foundation, and has received awards from The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council for the Arts, and The New York Foundation for the Arts. Jean Valentine teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and at the West Side Y, and lives in New York City.