A twentieth-century American author, he is best known for his imaginative novel, Bring the Jubilee, which paints a picture a world in which the South won the American Civil War. His other works include Cloud By Day, Greener than You Think, and Joyleg.
He claimed to have spent several years traveling around the United States as a hobo during the early 1920s.
His debut novel, Breathe the Air Again, focuses on the struggles of California workers during the 1920s.
He was born in New Jersey to Jewish parents. He married science fiction writer Raylyn Moore in 1965.
He and Kenneth Rexroth both participated in the Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration.