A faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Joseph Mills holds holds the Susan Burress Wall Distinguished Professorship in the Humanities and was honored with a 2017 UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching. His work includes poetry, fiction, drama, and criticism. He has published six volumes of poetry with Press 53: Exit, pursued by a bear; This Miraculous Turning, Sending Christmas Cards to Huck and Hamlet; Love and Other Collisions; Angels, Thieves, and Winemakers, and Somewhere During the Spin Cycle .
With his wife, Danielle Tarmey, he researched and wrote two editions of A Guide to North Carolina's Wineries (John F. Blair, Publisher). He has also edited a collection of film criticism entitled A Century of the Marx Brothers (Cambridge Scholars Publishing). He won the 2017 Rose Post Creative Nonfiction Competition sponsored by the North Carolina Writers Network for his essay, "On Hearing My Daughter Trying to Sing Dixie." In 2015, he won the North Carolina Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for This Miraculous Turning.
He has degrees in literature from the University of Chicago (B.A.), the University of New Mexico (M.A.), and the University of California-Davis (Ph.D). As he was working on his third one, his mother asked, "Don't you know that stuff yet?"