Jean Valentine was born in Chicago, earned her B.A. from Radcliffe College, and 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 was Shirt in Heaven, published by Copper Canyon Press in 2015. Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems 1965 - 2003 won the 2004 National Book Award for Poetry.