Poet Paul Zimmer was born in Canton, Ohio, and served the United States Army as a journalist before earning his BA from Kent State University in 1968. He is the author of 12 books of poetry, including Family Reunion (1983), which won an Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Zimmer is also one of the founders of the Pitt Poetry Series and has served as the director of university presses in Georgia, Iowa, and Pittsburg.
Zimmer’s poetry engages everyday life, using free-verse lines and unadorned diction to highlight the drama and wit of ordinary situations. Poet William Stafford, who selected Zimmer’s collection The Great Bird of Love (1989) for the National Poetry Series, described the book as “quirky, full of surprise, variety, [and] humor,” noting that Zimmer’s “language is alive with verbal adventure.”
Zimmer has received various awards and honors for his poetry and prose, including six Pushcart Prizes, two National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowships, a Helen Bullis Memorial Award, and an Open Book Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors, among others. He currently lives in Wisconsin.