Ed Ochester was born on September 15, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York, to Viola Ochester and Edwin Otto, an insurance broker. In 1961, Ochester received his BA from Cornell University. In 1963, he earned an MA from Harvard University.
Ochester is the author of fourteen poetry collections, including Sugar Run Road (Autumn House Press, 2015); Unreconstructed: Poems Selected and New (Autumn House Press, 2007); The Republic of Lies (Adastra Press, 2007); and The Land of Cockaigne (Story Line Press, 2001). He was also editor of the anthology Natives: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry (Quixote Press, 1973).
Ochester has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, among others. He was the longtime editor of the Pitt Poetry Series, having taken over the post in 1978, and served as both a past president of the Associated Writing Programs and the founding editor of 5AM.
Ochester lived on a small farm in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, until his death on August 22, 2023.