Imagist poet and author whose works include The Devil is an English Gentleman and A Boy Named John. He wrote much of his work under the pseudonym of John Corky.
He was born in Russia to Jewish parents, and he and his family immigrated to the United States in 1891.
When writing for The Philadelphia Record, Cournos adopted the additional pseudonym of "Gorky."
He married fellow author Helen Kestner.
He had an extra-marital affair with author Dorothy L. Sayers. A fictionalized version of the relationship appears in Sayers' novel Strong Poison and in Cournos' work The Devil Is an English Gentleman.