Alfred Corn was born in Bainbridge, Georgia in 1943 and raised in Valdosta, Georgia.
Corn graduated from Emory University in 1965 with a B.A. in French literature. Corn earned an M.A. in French literature at Columbia University in 1967.
Corn travelled to France on a Fulbright Scholarship where he met Ann Jones, whom he would later marry.After he and Ann Jones divorced, he was partnered with the architect Walter Brown in the years 1971-1976,and then with J.D. McClatchy from 1977 until 1989.