Born in New York, Barbara Howes spent her childhood in Boston after being adopted by a wealthy family. In 1937, she graduated from Bennington College in Vermont. She edited Chimera: A Literary Magazine in Greenwich Village from 1943 to 1947. She married the poet William Jay Smith in 1947, and they had two sons, David and Gregory, before divorcing in the mid-1960’s. Two of her books, The Sea-Green Horse: A Collection of Short Stories (1970) and The Road Commissioner, and Other Stories (1983), were juvenile works illustrated by her son Gregory Smith. During her marriage, she spent time in Europe and Haiti, which sparked her interest in Latin American poetry and literature. After her divorce, Howes spent the rest of her life living on a Vermont farm and traveling to the Caribbean. Her first book of poetry was published in 1948, her last in 1995, and much of her career was spent in the literary field rather than in academia. She edited numerous literary anthologies, including those of famous Latin American writers. She died in 1996, after a long illness.