Mari Evans was born in Toledo, Ohio, in 1923. She is the author of five collections of poetry, including I Am a Black Woman (1970), winner of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters poetry award; A Dark and Splendid Mass (1992); and Continuum: New and Selected Poems (2007). She is also the author of several children’s books, including Singing Black: Alternative Nursery Rhymes for Children (1998) and I’m Late: The Story of LaNeese and Moonlight and Alisha Who Didn’t Have Anyone of Her Own (2006). Evans authored many plays, musicals, essays, and books of literary criticism. Her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the John Hay Whitney Foundation. She taught at Spelman College, Purdue University, and Cornell University. Evans died in 2017.