Born in New York City on July 9, 1936, June Jordan attended Barnard College.
Her numerous books of poetry include Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2007), Kissing God Goodbye: Poems, 1991-1997 (Anchor Books, 1997), Haruko/Love Poems (1994), Naming Our Destiny: New and Selected Poems (1989), Living Room (1985), Passion (1980), and Things That I Do in the Dark (1977).
She is also the author of children's books, plays, a novel, and Poetry for the People: A Blueprint for the Revolution (1995), a guide to writing, teaching and publishing poetry. Her collections of political essays include Affirmative Acts: Political Essays (1998) and Technical Difficulties (1994). Basic Books published her memoir, Soldier: A Poet's Childhood, in 2000.
Jordan received a Rockefeller Foundation grant, the National Association of Black Journalists Award, and fellowships from the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
She taught at the University of California, Berkeley, where she founded Poetry for the People. June Jordan died of breast cancer on June 14, 2002, in Berkeley, California.