Marilyn Nelson was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 26, 1946, to Melvin M. Nelson, a U.S. serviceman in the Air Force, and Johnnie Mitchell Nelson, a teacher. Brought up first on one military base and then another, Nelson started writing while still in elementary school. She earned her B.A. from the University of California, Davis, and holds postgraduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (M.A., 1970) and the University of Minnesota (Ph.D., 1979). Her books include The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems (1997), which was a finalist for the 1998...