Allen Grossman was born in 1932 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was educated at Harvard where he was editor of the Harvard Advocate and won the Garrison Prize for Poetry and the Prize of the Academy of American Poets. His awards and honors have included a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Witter Bynner Prize for Poetry given by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and a MacArthur Fellowship. In 1997, Grossman won a literature award to honor writers of exceptional accomplishment from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. For many years he was a professor of English at Brandeis University. He was also the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at the Johns Hopkins University.