I was born in 1941 and grew up in Fish Creek,
Wisconsin, a hamlet of some two hundred people situated beneath a limestone bluff on
a harbor of Lake Michigan. After receiving a BA at Stanford I enrolled as a
graduate student at the University of Toronto and, to support myself, joined
the editorial staff of the
University of Toronto Press. A few years later, with an MA in hand, I went on to
Brandeis University where I studied with J.V. Cunningham and received a
PhD in English literature in 1972.
Teaching jobs being sparse, I worked for a time as an editor at the Godine Press, then began doing government-funded research in the social sciences. After a few years I founded a non-profit research institute studying issues in criminal justice and mental health. I wrote a book on political terrorism. Later, after an affiliation with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, I started a company that provided software to local governments. This company, MicroSolve, occupied me for some twenty years until I was able to sell it and become, for the first time in my life, a fulltime writer.
In spite of the distractions just mentioned, I have written and published poems all my adult life. My earlier books include Digressions (Aliquando Press, Toronto), Wily Apparitions (Cummington Press, Omaha), Bell Buoys (Aliquando), and two books of translations: Sketch of a Serpent and A Stroke upon the Sea. I was one of the founding editors of Canto: Review of the Arts, a sprightly literary magazine that flourished in the late 1970s. My poems and translations have appeared in many magazines – including the Southern Review, Hudson Review, Christian Science Monitor, Literary Imagination, and The Formalist – and in online journals such as Expansive Poetry and Music and Not Just Air. You can find my work in the on-line anthologies The Hypertexts and Poem Tree and in an anthology of ekphrastic poetry, Lay Bare the Canvas (2014). Seven of my poems were set to music by Paul Alan Levi in a song cycle for tenor and piano called Zeno's Arrow, which has been performed in Massachusetts and New York.
Back in 2010 I joined David Rothman in starting an annual Symposium in Poetry Criticism. The symposium brings distinguished poet-critics each summer to Western State Colorado University to present papers and exchange views on significant issues in the understanding and criticism of poetry in our time.
I have written many reviews and critical articles on poetry for Contemporary Poetry Review, Southern Review, and other publications. Look for my book Sparring with the Sun: Poets and the Ways We Think about Poetry in the Late Days of Modernism, published by Antilever Press in 2013, and for my latest book of poems, Peccadilloes.
J A N S C H R E I B E R