Poet associated with the San Francisco Renaissance and known for Sky, Sea, Birds, Trees, Earth, House, Beasts, Flowers; The Phoenix and the Tortoise; and The Signature of All Things. Also a translator, he produced English versions of Chinese, Japanese, and Greek texts.
He attended the Art Institute of Chicago and later taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
He was among the first American poets to experiment with the haiku and other Japanese poetic forms.
He was the Indiana-born son of Charles Rexroth and Delia Reed. He was married three times and had two daughters.
He was one of the inspirations behind Jack Kerouac's novel The Dharma Bums.