Miller Williams was born on April 8, 1930, in Hoxie, Arkansas, the son of a Methodist minister. He received a B.S. in zoology from Arkansas State College and completed his M.S. at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, after which he became a science teacher. In 1961, he received a Bread Loaf Fellowship, and in 1962, he joined the English department of Louisiana State University.
In 1971, Williams moved to the University of Arkansas and joined the creative writing program, working with the graduate program in creative writing and in translation. His academic career has included serving as visiting professor of U.S. literature at the University of Chile and as Fulbright Professor of American Studies at the National University of Mexico. For seven years, he was a member of the poetry faculty at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. In 1976, he was made a fellow of the American Academy in Rome.
He has represented the U.S. State Department on reading and lecturing tours throughout Latin America, Europe, and Asia. His stories, translations, poems, and critical essays have appeared in a variety of journals in English, and his poems have been translated into several languages.
He has served as president of the American Literary Translators Association, founding editor of the New Orleans Review, founding director of the University of Arkansas Press, and Latin American editor for the third edition of Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia. He was also named university professor of English and foreign languages at the University of Arkansas. He became professor emeritus in 2003.