Born in Pittsburgh in 1925, Jack Gilbert worked as a steelworker and exterminator, and attended Jack Spicer’s Magic Poetry Workshop in San Francisco in in 1957. After his first book in 1962 he lived abroad and published little for twenty years.
Books: The Dance Most of All (2009); Transgressions: Selected Poems (2006); Refusing Heaven (2005), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Great Fires: Poems 1982-1992 (1996); Monolithos (1982), winner of the Stanley Kunitz Prize and the American Poetry Review Prize and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Views of Jeopardy (1962), winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize. He was awarded a Lannan Literary Award for Poetry and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Gilbert died on November 11, 2012 in Berkeley, California, at the age of 87, after a long battle with Alzheimer's.