Henry Carlile was born in San Francisco and grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He earned an MA from the University of Washington, where he studied with Theodore Roethke and Elizabeth Bishop. His collections of poetry include The Rough-Hewn Table (1971), winner of the Devins Award; Running Lights (1981); Rain (1994); and Oregon (2013).
Carlile’s poems are often located in the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Paul Giles, in “‘Like a Black Bell’: On the Poetry of Henry Carlile” in the Oregon Literary Review, noted the dark humor and “metaphysical inclinations” in Carlile’s work. Commenting on Rain, Giles noted that “Carlile’s language circles humorously over the savage immensities it chooses to alight upon only casually.”
Carlile has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Oregon Arts Commission, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. He has had poems published in the American Poetry Review, Poetry, Shenandoah, and the Southern Review.
Carlile taught for many years at Portland State University in Oregon and retired in 2003.