Born in Spring Grove, Minnesota, Joseph Langland (1917 – 2007) was raised in Northeastern Iowa on the family farm. Langland received both a bachelor’s degree (1940) and a master’s degree (1941) from the University of Iowa. He served in the U.S. Army as an infantryman during World War II. His first collection of poems For Harold (1945) was written for his younger brother who was killed in action in the Philippines.
After the war, Langland taught part-time at the University of Iowa and then joined the faculty of University of Wyoming, teaching there from 1948 to 1959. He then moved to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he founded the MFA Program for Poets & Writers. He was a faculty member at UMass from 1959–1979 and a professor emeritus from 1979 until his death in 2007.
His work appeared in Massachusetts Review, Paris Review, The Nation, and The New Yorker.