Born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Moss Point, Mississippi, the poet and scholar Jerry W. Ward, Jr. was educated at Tougaloo College, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the University of Virginia. A Lawrence Durgin Professor of Literature at Tougaloo College for some 20 years, and a Professor of English at Dillard University, Ward has also served as editor to the anthologies Redefining American Literary History (1990), Black Southern Voices (1992) and Trouble the Water: 250 Years of African American Poetry (1997).
Some of Ward’s most recent work includes a memoir, The Katrina Papers: A Journal of Trauma and Recovery (2008), and Fractal Song (2017), a book of poems. Ward has published essays, poems and critical reviews in New Orleans Review, Obsidian, The Southern Quarterly, Black American Literature Forum and Callaloo, and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a Kent Fellowship, a Tougaloo College Outstanding Teaching Award, a United Negro College Fund’s Distinguished Scholar Award, the Public Humanities Scholar Award, and a Darwin T. Turner Award from the African American Literature and Culture Society.
Ward was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent in 2001.