Barry Spacks was born in Philadelphia in 1931. He taught at MIT from 1960 to 1981 then at the University of California, Santa Barbara, for 32 years. He served as Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara from 2005 to 2007. A recipient of the St. Botolph’s Arts Award, he published eleven poetry collections during his lifetime, including Spacks Street: New and Selected Poems (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), which won the Commonwealth Club of California’s Poetry Medal. An accomplished fiction writer, librettist, singer-songwriter, and actor, Barry Spacks died in Santa Barbara in 2014 at the age of 82. Shaping Water is the final book of poems collected and organized by the poet during his lifetime.