He received his B.A. from Howard University. He is the author of nine books of poetry, two memoirs and the editor of three poetry anthologies. His work has appeared in numerous publications including Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Poet Lore, and Sojourners.
Miller was the founder and director of the Ascension Poetry Reading Series, one of the oldest literary series in the Washington area. Since 1974 he has been director of Howard University's African American Resource Center. Miller has taught at various schools, including American University, Emory & Henry College, George Mason University, Harpeth Hall School and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was also a core faculty member of the writing seminars at Bennington College. He worked with Operation Homecoming for the NEH.
He currently serves as board chairperson of the Institute for Policy Studies. He is also on the boards of Split This Rock and the Writer's Center, and is co-editor of Poet Lore magazine. He is former chair of the Humanities Council of Washington, D. C. and has served on the boards of the AWP, the Edmund Burke School, PEN American Center, PEN/Faulkner Foundation, and the Washington Area Lawyer for the Arts (WALA).
He lives in Washington, D. C. In 1979, Marion Barry, the mayor of Washington, DC, proclaimed September 28, 1979 as "E. Ethelbert Miller Day."