Rick Hilles was born in Canton, Ohio and grew up in North Canton (formerly “New Berlin”), Ohio, where he attended North Canton Montessori before entering the public schools, receiving his diploma from Hoover High School.
After receiving a scholarship to attend the Columbus College of Art & Design (where he studied drawing, design, and painting intensively for a year), he received his B.A. and L.S.M. from Kent State University and his M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Columbia University.
His poems have appeared in Poetry, Paris Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Salmagundi, Witness, Missouri Review, and translations have appeared in Field and Harper’s.
He was a Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University and the Ruth and Jay C. Halls Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he taught creative writing and poetry. He has also done graduate work at Rice and the University of Houston, where he also taught. From 2001 to 2005, he was a Visiting Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Michigan, where he taught poetry courses in literature and creative writing.
Since 2005, he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in literature and creative writing (poetry) as a professor at Vanderbilt University.