David Lehman was born in New York City in 1948.
He is the author of three collections of poems: An Alternative to Speech(1986) and Operation Memory (1990), both from Princeton, and Valentine Place (1996), from Scribner. His latest critical book is The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets (Doubleday, 1998), centering on a quartet of poets -- John Ashberry, Kenneth Koch, Frank O'Hara, and James Schuyler -- in that postwar period when New York City was supplanting Paris as the world capital of art and culture.
He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a three-year writer's award from the Lila Wallace -- Reader's Digest Fund. He is on the core faculty of the graduate writing programs at Bennington College and the New School for Social Research. He also teaches a "great poems" course in the undergraduate honors program at New York University. He is the general editor of the University of Michigan's Poets on Poetry Series.
Having experimented with writing a poem a day since 1996, Lehman is completing a new manuscript of his poems under the title The Daily Mirror. A revised and enlarged paperback edition of The Perfect Murder, his 1989 study of detective novels and movies, will be published soon by the University of Michigan Press. A new edition of Lehman's anthology, Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms, containing a poem and a comment on its form from each of 85 leading poets, was released in 1996.
Lehman initiated The Best American Poetry in 1988. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of this distinguished annual anthology, Harold Bloom chose the contents of The Best of the Best American Poetry, 1988-1997, which was published by Scribner in April 1998.
Recent journalistic appearances by David Lehman include articles on Abstract Expressionism and on the painter Fairfield Porter for American Heritage; columns on books in the Boston Globe; and book reviews in People magazine. He has written for Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday and many other periodicals. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Agni, New American Writing, The Times Literary Supplement, and elsewhere. He interviewed A. R. Ammons for The Paris Review. He organized and served as master-of-ceremonies of the Poetry Olympics (pitting teams representing the MFA writing programs of five metropolitan-based institutions) in November, 1997.