Known for such poetry collections as The Disappearing Trick, The Trouble-Making Finch, and Counting the Black Angels, he received the National Poetry Series Award for his 1989 work Black Wings.
After earning degrees from Siena College (New York), the University of Dayton (Ohio), and Lehigh University (Pennsylvania), he published his debut poetry volume, Cohoes Theater, in 1980.
He translated several works by twentieth-century Hungarian poet Sandor Csoori.
A native of Cohoes, New York, he died at the age of sixty in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (where he was a professor at Northampton Community College).
Renowned Beat poet Allen Ginsberg recommended Roberts' first poetry collection for publication.