Howard never met his birth parents nor his sister who was adopted by another local family. A former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets he is Professor of Practice in the writing program at Columbia's School of the Arts. Personal life
Born to poor Jewish parents Howard (whose last name at birth is unknown) was adopted as an infant by Emma Joseph and Harry Orwitz a middle-class Cleveland couple who were also Jewish; his mother changed their last names to "Howard" when he was an infant after Richard Howard divorced Orwitz.
Richard Joseph Howard (born October 13 1929; adopted as Richard Joseph Orwitz) is an American poet literary critic essayist teacher and translator. He was born in Cleveland Ohio and is a graduate of Columbia University where he studied under Mark Van Doren and where he now teaches.