An American novelist, essayist, poet, children's book writer, and literature professor, he is known for works such as Trinity Fields and Giovanni's Gift. He also founded and edited Conjunctions magazine.
He graduated with honors from the University of Colorado-Boulder and subsequently studied English at Yale.
He was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.
He was born in Maryland, and he grew up in Colorado. He later settled in New York.
He served as Kenneth Rexroth's literary executor.