Poet Jayne Cortez was born in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and grew up in California. In addition to publishing a number of collections, including Somewhere in Advance of Nowhere (1996) and Mouth on Paper (1977), she released several recordings, many of which feature her band, the Firespitters. She has been described as a lyrically innovative and visceral poet, and her work has been presented at universities, festivals, and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Widely anthologized, her work has been translated into 28 languages and featured in publications such as Poems for the Millennium and Postmodern American Poetry.
Cortez was the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as awards such as the International African Festival Award and the American Book Award. She was also the founder of the Watts Repertory Company and her own publishing company. She lived in New York City until her death in 2012.