Joseph's grandparents were among the first Arab Americans to emigrate to Detroit, where both Joseph's parents were born. He attended the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, the University of Michigan (B.A, 1970), Magdalene College, Cambridge University (B..A 1972, M.A. 1976), and the University of Michigan Law School (J. D. 1975). Joseph, perhaps best known as a poet, won the 1983 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize from the Pitt Poetry Series for his first book, *Shouting at No One*. His second book of poems, *Curriculum Vitae*, was published in 1988. Joseph is also the author of *Lawyerland*, a book of prose, published in 1997. Lawyerland has been optioned for a film by John Malkovich, Lianne Helfon and Russell Smith's Mr. Mudd Productions. Joseph's essays and criticism have appeared in magazines and newspapers, and in collections of essays, both in the United States and internationally. His essay on Motown music and Rhythm and Blues, "The Music Is," which originally appeared in *Tin House*, was included in *Da Capo Best Music Writing* 2003, chosen by Guest Editor Matt Groening.