Born in Sherborn, Massachusetts, poet Anne Porter was educated at Bryn Mawr College and Radcliffe College. Married to the painter Fairfield Porter, she raised five children in a busy, artistic household, frequently forced to pursue writing on the side. When her husband died in 1975, she began to write poetry much more seriously. As she told the Wall Street Journal: “I remember realizing that I was alone, and I'd have to be more organized. I had these poems, and I thought that it would be worthwhile working on them. I started to write.” Her first collection, An Altogether Different Language (1994), published when she was 83, was named a finalist for the National Book Award. Her other volume of poetry is Living Things: Collected Poems (2006). Her work has been anthologized in the Oxford Book of American Poetry (2006), and featured on Garrison Keillor's radio program, The Writer's Almanac.
In Publishers Weekly, David Shapiro observed that “Porter writes what might best be called plainsong: short, unadorned works that, like gospel or folk music, cut directly to the ambiguous heart of things.” David Lehman, editor of the Oxford Book of American Poetry, called her “a marvelously talented poet who has not yet received the recognition that is her due.” Of her own late arrival on the poetry scene, Porter noted: “People don't use their creativity as they get older. They think this is supposed to be the end of this and the end of that. But you can't always be so sure that it is the end.”
Anne Porter lived with her family on Long Island until her death in 2011.