Michael S. Harper
Michael Steven Harper (March 18, 1938 – May 7, 2016) was an American poet and English professor at Brown University, who was the Poet Laureate of Rhode Island from 1988 to 1993. His poetry was influenced by jazz and history.
Among the influences which shaped his writing, he said that the most important lesson he learned from musicians was phrasing, the authenticity of phrasing, and the transcendence and spiritual mastery. He published ten books of poetry, two of which—Dear John, Dear Coltrane (1970) and Images of Kin (1977)—were nominated for the National Book Award. Many of his poems have been included as examples of African-American literature and jazz poetry in various anthologies.