Poet and essayist Aaron Shurin was born in Manhattan and grew up there, in eastern Texas, and in Los Angeles. He earned a BA at the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied with poet Denise Levertov, and an MA in poetics at the New College of California. Influenced by Robert Duncan and Frank O’Hara, Shurin composes lyric poems that explore themes of sexuality and loss.
Shurin is the author of more than a dozen books, including the poetry collections The Paradise of Forms: Selected Poems (1999), a Publishers Weekly Best Book; Involuntary Lyrics (2005); and A’s Dream (1989), as well as the essay collections King of Shadows (2008) and Unbound: A Book of AIDS (1997). Shurin has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Gerbode Foundation, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and the California Arts Council. He cofounded the Boston-based writing collective Good Gay Poets and directs the MFA program at the University of San Francisco.