Henry Hart was born in 1954 and raised on a Christmas tree farm in western Connecticut. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1976 and went on to earn a doctorate from Oxford University in 1983. He serves as the Mildred and J.B. Hickman Professor of English and Humanities at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.
A distinguished literary critic, biographer, essayist, book reviewer, editor, and poet, Hart is the author of James Dickey: The World as a Lie (2000), a biography of the poet that was runner-up for the Southern Book Critics’ Circle Award. His works of literary criticism include Robert Lowell and the SublimeSeamus Heaney: Poet of Contrary Progressions (1991), and The Poetry of Geoffrey Hill (1986). He also served as editor of The James Dickey Reader (1999) and was a founding editor of Verse from 1984 to 1994, continuing on as the magazine’s managing editor from 1994 to 2010. Additionally, he is the author of three books of poems: Background Radiation (2007), The Rooster (1998), and Ghost Ship (1990).
Hart was the recipient of the 2010 Carole Weinstein Prize in Poetry, awarded each year to a poet with strong connections to the Commonwealth of Virginia. His other honors and awards include the Twentieth Century Literature Prize in Literary Criticism (1987) and fellowships from the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford, England (2003) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (1998).