Born in a prime U.S. Navy port to a naval-officer father, John Meade Haines moved around with his family a good deal: Vallejo, California; Long Beach, California; Bremerton, Washington; Honolulu, Hawaii; San Diego, California; Newport, Rhode Island; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Washington, D.C. After attending high school in Washington, D.C., Haines was on active antisubmarine duty in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946. He subsequently attended two art schools (National Art School in Washington, D.C., and Hans Hoffman School of Fine Arts in New York City). Haines, who had visited Alaska in 1947, homesteaded there in 1954. He lived in a cabin seventy miles from Richardson for about twenty-five years. After publication of several poetry collections and essays, Haines assumed visiting faculty positions at several universities, including the University of Alaska, University of Washington, University of Montana, Ohio University, George Washington University (Washington, D.C.), University of Cincinnati, and Austin Peay State University (Tennessee). At the age of seventy, Haines married his fourth wife, Joy De Stefano, his first three marriages, to Jo Ellen Hussey (1960-?), Jane McWhorter (1970-1974), and Leslie Sennett (1978-1982), having ended in divorce. In addition to Alaska, Haines has lived in Montana and Ohio and has traveled in Europe.