Dillard is best known as a poet, but he is also highly-regarded as a writer of fiction and critical essays, as well as one of the screenwriters for the cult classic Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster. He is considered something of an institution at Hollins University where he has been since 1964, teaching creative writing, literature, and film studies. He is the winner of numerous awards for his writing. In 2007, he was awarded the George Garrett Award for Service to Contemporary Literature by the Association of Writers & Writing Programs. Richard Dillard's former wife is the writer Annie Dillard.