Neal Bowers grew up in Clarksville, Tennessee. He received a PhD from the University of Florida and taught for many years at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He has written novels, nonfiction, and several collections of poetry, including Night Vision (1992) and Out of the South (2002), which won the Society of Midland Authors 2002-03 Poetry Prize. Set in rural Tennessee, the book captures the experience of growing up in the South during the 1950s and ’60s. Bowers has had his poetry published in Poetry, the Sewanee Review, and the New Yorker.

Bowers wrote the memoir Words for the Taking: The Hunt for a Plagiarist (1997, 2007) after discovering that someone had been plagiarizing his poems and publishing them in journals. The book recounts his search for the plagiarist and his interactions with the publishing world, and investigates the implications of plagiarism. Bowers’s other works include the novel Loose Ends (2001) and Cats Rule: The Bookstore Cat’s Guide to the Care and Training of Humans (2009).

Bowers has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for poetry as well as the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry magazine.