Clayton Eshleman was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, June 1, 1935. He has a B.A. in Philosophy and an M.A.T. in English Literature from Indiana University. He has lived in Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Peru, France, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. He is presently Professor Emeritus, English Department, Eastern Michigan University. Since 1986 he has lived in Ypsilanti, Michigan with his wife Caryl who over the past forty years has been the primary reader and editor of his poetry and prose. His first collection of poetry, Mexico & North, was published in Kyoto, 1962.
From 1968 to 2004, Black Widow Press brought out thirteen collection of his poetry. In 2006, Black Widow Press became his main publisher and with The Price of Experience (2012) has now brought out six collections of his poetry, prose, and translations, including, in 2008, The Grindstone of Rapport / A Clayton Eshleman Reader. Wesleyan University Press has also published five of his books, including Juniper Fuse: Upper Paleolithic Imagination & the Construction of the Underworld (2003), the first study of Ice Age cave art by a poet. Two book length poems, An Anatomy of the Night and The Jointure, were published by BlazeVOX in 2011 and 2012. Eshleman has published fourteen collections of translations, including Watchfiends & Rack Screams by Antonin Artaud (Exact Change, 1995), The Complete Poetry of César Vallejo with a Foreword by Mario Vargas Llosa (University of California Press, 2007), Aimé Césaire: The Collected Poetry (co-translated with Annette Smith, University of California Press, 1983), and two more recent translations of Césaire: Solar Throat Slashed and the original 1939 Notebook of a Return to the Native Land (Wesleyan, 2011 and 2013), both co-translated with A. James Arnold.
Eshleman also founded and edited two of the most innovative poetry journals of the later part of the 20th century: Caterpillar (20 issues, 1967-1973) and Sulfur (46 issues, 1981-2000). Wesleyan will publish a 700 page Sulfur Anthology in 2014.
Among his recognitions and awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, 1978; The National Book Award in Translation, 1979; two grants from the NEA, 1979, 1981; three grants from the NEH, 1980, 1981, 1988; two Landon Translation Prizes from the Academy of American Poets, 1981, 2008; 13 NEA grants for Sulfur magazine, 1983-1996; The Alfonse X. Sabio Award for Excellence in Translation, San Diego State University, 2002; and a Rockefeller Study Center residency in Bellagio, Italy, 2004.
Recent publications include a translation of José Antonio Mazzotti’s Sakra Boccata with a Foreword by Raúl Zurita (Ugly Duckling, 2013). In the spring of 2014, Black Widow will bring out Penetralia, a new collection of poems, along with Clayton Eshleman / The Whole Art, a collection of essays, notes and articles on the author’s work over the decades, edited by Stuart Kendall. In 2015, Black Widow will publish Clayton Eshleman / The Essential Poetry 1960-2015 and Wesleyan will bring out a bilingual edition of The Complete Poetry of Aimé Césaire, co-translated with Arnold.