George Economou was born on September 24, 1934, in Great Falls, Montana. He graduated from Colgate University with an English degree in 1956, then earned his MA in English literature at Columbia University the following year. In 1967, he earned his PhD in English and comparative literature from Columbia University.
Economou was the author of several books of poetry, including Century Dead Center (Left Hand Books, 1997), harmonies & fits (Point Riders Press, 1987), and Voluntaries (Corycian Press, 1984). Economou was also known for his translations, his most recent ones including Complete Plus: The Poems of C. P. Cavafy in English (Shearsman Books, 2013) and Half an Hour & Other Poems by C. P. Cavafy (Stop Press, 2008).
He was the recipient of fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New York State Council on the Arts. Economou has taught at Columbia University; Hunter College; Long Island University; the University of Oklahoma, where he also served as chair of the English department and director of the creative writing program; and Wagner College. He lived with his wife, poet and playwright Rochelle Owens, in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia. He died on May 3, 2019.