Florence Anthony was born in 1947 in Albany, Tex., and reared mostly in Arizona by her mother and stepfather. For years her biological father’s identity was kept from her. She later learned, as she wrote in an autobiographical essay in the reference work Contemporary Poets, that “I am the child of a scandalous affair my mother had with a Japanese man she met at a streetcar stop.”
In 1969 Ms. Anthony received a bachelor’s degree in Oriental studies, with a concentration in Japanese, from the University of Arizona. She earned a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine, in 1971. Her first collection of poems, “Cruelty,” was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1973.