Born Samuel Paul Rice, Jr. on September 26, 1943 in La Grange, Ga. to Samuel Paul and Nadine Baker Rice. Rice graduated from La Grange High School in 1961, attended Georgia Technical Institute and graduated from Auburn University. Rice received the M.F.A. in Poetry and Poetics from the University of Arkansas and his Ph.D. from The Catholic University in Washington, D.C. with a specialization in 20th century British and American poetry. Rice was a tenured full professor at Coastal Carolina University where he taught for 17 years 1987-2004. He had previously taught at University of North Carolina-Asheville, Mars Hill College, N.C., and Brunswick College in Brunswick, Ga.
Among the awards Rice earned for his poetry include the Southern Literary Festival Poetry Prize and the Amon Line Award from The Greenville Review. He was also the winner in the South Carolina Fiction Project.