Born in Baltimore, biologist, poet, and writer Myra Sklarew was educated at Tufts University, where she earned a BS in biology, and the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, where she earned an MA. She began her career in the sciences, studying at the Cold Spring Harbor Biological Laboratory with Salvador Luria and Max Delbruck, and conducting research on frontal lobe function and delayed response memory in rhesus monkeys at the Yale University School of Medicine.

With musical precision and narrative clarity, Sklarew uses historical and scientific inquiry in poems that confront Jewish identity and the legacy of the Holocaust. She is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Harmless (2010), The Witness Trees: Lithuania (2007, a bilingual edition with Yiddish translation by poet David Wolpe), and Lithuania: New & Selected Poems (1995). She is also the author of Over the Rooftops of Time: Jewish Stories, Essays, Poems (2002) and the short story collection Like a Field Riddled by Ants (1987). With Bruce Sklarew, she co-edited The Journey of Child Development: The Selected Papers of Joseph D. Noshpitz (2010).

Her honors include the PEN Syndicated Fiction Award and the National Jewish Book Council Award in Poetry. She is the former president of the Yaddo artist community and is professor emerita in the Department of Literature at American University. A selection of her papers is held at the University of Maryland’s Hornbake Library. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland.