Jane Shore was born in New Jersey, the daughter of George Shore and Essie Shore. She grew up in the 1950’s above her parents’ clothing store, one of the Jewish-owned shops that lined the Newark city streets. Shore entered Goddard College in 1965. It was during her university years that she discovered her intense interest in poetry and formed lifelong friendships with fellow poets Barry Goldensohn and Lorrie Goldensohn. Although the 1960’s was not an era to encourage precision of meaning or dedication to craft, and although Goddard College was noted by faculty members as a place of sexual and drug experimentation, Shore worked to create deeper meaning and careful structure as well as intensity of emotion in her poetry.
After graduating from Goddard with a bachelor’s degree in 1969, Shore moved from Vermont to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She received her master of fine arts degree in 1971 from the University of Iowa and found success in the greater academic world very quickly. She earned a Briggs-Copeland Lectureship at Harvard, where she would meet Elizabeth Bishop. The elder poet guided Shore, strengthening her originality of expression and encouraging her to continue exploring her personal history through the vehicle of poetry. Like Bishop, Shore made her later poems dramatic narratives, which, memory-laden, dragged the lessons of the past into a meditative present. After Harvard, Shore went on to New York, Princeton, and Washington, D.C., through Guggenheim, Hodder, and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and produced three books of poetry. During the 1980’s, she lived in Manhattan, teaching at such diverse places as Sarah Lawrence College, the 92d Street YMCA, and Tufts University. In 1984, she married Howard Norman; the couple has one daughter. Shore began teaching at George Washington University in 1989. The poet and her family have settled in homes in Chevy Chase, Maryland, for the bulk of the year and in East Calais, Vermont, for the summer.
Shore’s literary career had roots in both publishing and education. Her poems were published in numerous magazines, including Poetry, The New Republic, Ploughshares, and The Yale Review. She was a guest editor for Ploughshares in 1977, 1984, and 1997 and taught at a wide variety of universities. In 2001, Shore served as a grant panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts.