Gerald Early was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1952. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and received his Ph.D. in English and American literature from Cornell in 1982. He is currently Merle King Professor of Modern Letters, and Director of the Center for the Humanities, at Washington University in St. Louis. In 1988, his collections of essays, Tuxedo Junction, was awarded the $25,000 Giles Whiting Writer's Prize. Dr. Early received the 1994 National Book Critic's Circle award, for his book The Culture of Bruising. He served as a consultant on Ken Burns's documentary films on baseball and jazz, which aired on PBS. How the War in the Streets Is Won: Poems on the Quest of Love and Faith is his first book of poems.