Born and raised in Berkeley, California (May 31, 1952), with younger brother and older sister; father was a lawyer in San Francisco. In high school, went on peace marches against the Vietnam War with my mother and friends, sang in a rock group (Virgin Forest), played acoustic guitar and composed songs, read and wrote poetry, and spent as much time as possible hiking in redwoods in Marin County or backpacking in the high Sierra. My favorite authors then (and still among my favorite now): Walt Whitman (with whom I share a birthday), Henry Thoreau, John Muir, Dylan Thomas, Gary Snyder, and J.R.R. Tolkien.
I started reading and writing poetry (and some short fiction) seriously at sixteen, inspired by my high school creative writing teacher, Mr. Sigg. After that, I never looked at books in the same way (but tried to learn something from each new writer), and I knew where my passion lay. After about five years in the rock band (I loved the connection with the audience being on stage), in college I studied classical voice, and ended up singing in the San Francisco Opera Chorus in the great years of the late seventies and early eighties, when Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo were regular principals. I remember one time holding my stage rifle to the back of Domingo (we were about to arrest and hang him), and he sang such a heart-rending aria (on his knees), that it was hard to maintain the angry expression on my face.
In college I pursued the advice, “If you really want to learn to write, read and read and read and write and write,” so I received my B.A. and M.A. in English: Emphasis Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, then my PhD. in lliterature from University of California, Davis. I worked with Gary Snyder on my doctoral dissertation on the California nature poet, Kenneth Rexroth.
Since then, I have taught English and creative writing at U.C. Davis, the University of Bordeaux, France, and at colleges around the Bay Area.
Family: Wife, son, stepson and family, cat, and great dog. My son, a poet majoring in playwriting at university, helps me edit my work, as does my wife, who always has a valuable opinion.