Joseph Stroud was born in Glendale, California, in 1943, and studied at the University of San Francisco, California State University at Los Angeles, and San Francisco State University. His work earned a Pushcart Prize in 2000. He was a finalist for the Northern California Book Critics Award in 2005. In 2006 he was selected by the Poet Laureate of the United States for a Witter Bynner Fellowship in poetry from the Library of Congress. He teaches at Cabrillo College and divides his time between his home in Santa Cruz on the California coast and a cabin in the Sierra Nevada.