Jay Hopler was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He earned a BA from New York University, an MA from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars, an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD from Purdue University. His first collection of poetry, Green Squall (2006), won a Yale Younger Poets Prize, a Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, a National “Best Books” Award from USA Book News, a Florida Book Award, and a Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award. His second collection, The Abridged History of Rainfall (2016), was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award in Poetry. In his evocative and elegiac poems, Hopler engages the philosophical lyric tradition of Wallace Stevens and often draws on the tropical landscapes of Florida. According to poet Katie Ford, “Hopler’s vision and voice [are] both painfully complex because of how much of the world he allows to attach to him, to stake its claim on him.”
Hopler is editor of The Killing Spirit: An Anthology of Murder for Hire (1998) and, with Kimberly Johnson, Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry (2013). He also edited and translated the collection The Museum of Small Dark Things: 25 Poems by Georg Trakl (2016). He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation, a Whiting Award, and the Rome Prize in Literature. He is Professor of English at the University of South Florida.