Stanley Kunitz was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1905. He attended Harvard College, served in the Army in World War II, taught at Bennington College, Columbia, Yale, Princeton, Rutgers, and the University of Washington. He served for two years as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, was designated State Poet of New York, and a Chancellor Emeritus of The Academy of American Poets. In 2000 he was named United States Poet Laureate. Together with his wife, the painter Elise Asher, he split his time between New York City and Provincetown, Massachusetts. He died at the age of 100 on May 14, 2006.

"A poet needs to keep his wilderness alive inside him."–from an interview with Kunitz

These two volumes contain tributes by Richard Wilbur, Cleopatra Mathis, Louise Gluck, Stanley Moss, Galway Kinnell, Susan Mitchell, Jack Gilbert, Mark Rudman, Joyce Carol Oates, Bruce Smith, Grace Schulman, Hugh Seidman, W. S. Merwin, Edward Field, Lucie Brock-Broido, Robert Hass, Stephen Berg, Maxine Kumin, Robert Pinsky, Kenneth Koch, and C. K. Williams, among others.