James Richardson graduated from Princeton in 1971 and received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia in 1975. He joined the Creative Writing faculty in 1980 and teaches beginning and advanced poetry, a workshop specializing in short forms, All the Moves—Prosody, and FRS 138—Life Is Short, Art Is Really Short.
Richardson's books include By the Numbers: Poems and Aphorisms, which was a 2010 National Book Award finalist and a Publishers Weekly "Best Book of 2010"; Interglacial: New and Selected Poems and Aphorisms, which was a finalist for the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award; Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten Second Essays; How Things Are; As If; Second Guesses; Reservations, which was a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America, and two critical studies, Thomas Hardy: The Poetry of Necessity and Vanishing Lives: Tennyson, D. G. Rossetti, Swinburne and Yeats.
Richardson is the recipient of the 2011 Jackson Poetry Prize, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Robert H. Winner, Cecil Hemley, and Emily Dickinson Awards of the Poetry Society of America, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has recent poems and aphorisms in T: The New York Times Style Magazine, The New Yorker, The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Poetry Daily, Yale Review, American Poetry Review, David Lehman's Great American Prose Poems: Poe to the Present, Geary’s Guide to the World's Great Aphorists, and several editions of The Best American Poetry and the Pushcart Prize anthology.