Arnold Adoff (born July 16, 1935 in Bronx, New York) is a U.S. poet and anthologist. He has published more than 30 books, which have won numerous awards. In 1988, the National Council of Teachers of English gave Adoff the Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. He has said, “I will always try to turn sights and sounds into words. I will always try to shape words into my singing poems.”
Arnold Adoff was raised by Russian immigrant parents in the South Bronx who valued their Jewish heritage and liberal causes, and prized the roles of women in society. He received a BA degree from the City College of New York and then, for a period of time, studied history at Columbia University and the New School for Social Research. During this time he met and married author Virginia Hamilton. As a social studies teacher for twelve years in Harlem and the Upper West Side of New York, he became aware of the lack of African American literature in the schools and decided to do something about it. At this time, he became an aficionado of Black poetry which led to his first anthology, I am the Darker Brother. This book was recently updated to include the poems of Maya Angelou, Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni, Ishmail Reed, and Alice Walker. At the same time he was anthologizing others’ poetry, he also was practicing his own craft.