Born on September 22, 1928, Irving Feldman was raised in Brooklyn, New York. He was educated at the City College of New York (now City College of the City University of New York) and at Columbia University.
After receiving his master's degree from Columbia in 1953, Feldman traveled first to Puerto Rico, where he taught at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, and then to France, where he taught at the Université de Lyon. In 1958, he returned to the United States to accept a position at Kenyon College, moving on in 1964 to the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he was Distinguished Professor of English until his retirement in 2004.
Feldman's collections of poetry include Collected Poems, 1954-2004 (Schocken, 2004);Beautiful False Things: Poems (Grove Press, 2000); All of Us Here (1986), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Leaping Clear (1976) and The Pripet Marshes (1965), both finalists for the National Book Award; and Works and Days (1961). The Life and Letters (1994) was a finalist for the Poets' Prize.
Feldman is the recipient of a National Institute of Arts and Letters award as well as fellowships from The Academy of American Poets, The Guggenheim Foundation, The Ingram Merrill Foundation, and The MacArthur Foundation. He lives in Buffalo, New York.