Cynthia Huntington was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania. She earned a BA at Michigan State University and an MA from the Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College.
Huntington’s free verse poems often examine the bare mind, restlessly turning the form of the individual against both built and natural environments, mapping both threat and respite against a shifting screen of personal memory. Introducing her early work in a 1993 issue of the Boston Review, poet Donald Hall describes Huntington’s work as “ poetry of the intellect laid out in brawny unpredictable style,” observing, “Cynthia Huntington writes poems by the sentence, punctuated by the line, and by a vocabulary of nice distinctions. Hers is a poetry of wit, surprise, observation, and exemplary intelligence.” In a note for the online journal Anti-, Huntington states, “I am against the idea that poetry should be uplifting, and darkness dispelled. Stairs go both up and down without ever moving.”
Huntington is the author of several collections of poetry, including The Fish-Wife (1985); We Have Gone to the Beach (1996), which won the Beatrice Hawley Award and the Jane Kenyon Award; Levis Prize-winner The Radiant (2003); and Heavenly Bodies (2012), which was nominated for a National Book Award; as well as the nonfiction prose volume The Salt House (1998).
Her honors include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Former poet laureate of New Hampshire, Huntington has also chaired the poetry jury for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. She is a professor of English and creative writing at Dartmouth College.