An American professor, author, poet, and translator, he is known for novels such as Vanishing Rooms and Trouble the Water. Many of his works discuss the lives of gay, African-American men.
He earned a BA from Wesleyan University and a Ph.D. from Brown University.
His novel, Trouble the Water, won the Charles H. and N. Mildred Nilon Excellence in Minority Fiction Award.
He died in his forties from complications of AIDS, after having spent many years with his partner, Richard Horovitz.
He taught at Queens College, where Stephen Fry once studied literature.