Born in Los Angeles in 1947, Stephen Kessler received a BA in Languages and Literature from Bard College and an MA from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
His collections of poetry include Scratch Pagasus (Swan Scythe Press, 2013); The Mental Traveler (Greenhouse Review Press, 2010); Burning Daylight (Littoral Press, 2007) among others. His translations of the poet Luis Cernuda have received numerous awards including a Lambda Literary Award for Written in Water: The Prose Poems of Luis Cernuda (City Lights, 2004) and the Harold Morton Landon Award for translation from the Academy of American Poets for Desolation of the Chimera (White Pine Press, 2009).
Kessler's other books of translation include The Sonnets by Jorge Luis Borges (Penguin, 2010), Eyeseas by Raymond Queneau (Black Widow Press, 2008), which he translated with Daniela Hurezanu, Aphorisms (Green Integer, 2002) by César Vallejo, Ode to Typography (Peter Koch, 1998) by Pablo Neruda, Save Twilight: Selected Poems of Julio Cortázar (City Lights Books, 1997), and From Beirut (Pygmy Forest Press, 1992) by Mahmoud Darwish, among others.
In response to Kessler's work, Gary Young said, "[he] has mapped the emotional expanses determined by the harsh borders of longing and loss, sexual attraction and sexual release, mystical union and mystical dissolve, and his poems—by turns tender, ironic, furious, and wry—pulse with the soulful syncopation of the heart.”
Kessler was a founding editor and publisher of Alcatraz, an international journal, and the Sun, a Santa Cruz weekly newspaper, among other independent publishing ventures. He lives in California where he is the editor of the quarterly literary newspaper, The Redwood Coast Review.