Nick Flynn was born in Scituate, Massachusetts, on Boston’s South Shore, on January 26, 1960. He earned his MFA from New York University.
Flynn is the author of the poetry collections Low (Graywolf Press, 2023); My Feelings (Graywolf Press, 2015); The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands (Graywolf Press, 2011); Blind Huber (Graywolf Press, 2002); and Some Ether (Graywolf Press, 2000), which was the recipient of the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award.
Flynn is also the author of the memoirs The Reenactments (Graywolf Press, 2013); The Ticking Is the Bomb (W. W. Norton, 2010); and Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (W. W. Norton, 2004), which received the PEN/Martha Albrand Award, has been widely translated, and was adapted into the film Being Flynn. He was awarded the “Discovery”/The Nation Prize and has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, and the Amy Lowell Trust.
Flynn’s work has been described as post-confessional, primarily because of the poems in Some Ether, which focus on his mother’s suicide when he was twenty-two, his difficult childhood, and his stilted family life. In Blind Huber, however, the poems eschew Flynn’s history and focus on the life of the blind beekeeper, Francoise Huber, who lived during the eighteenth century.
While the subject matter may differ dramatically in all of Nick Flynn’s work, there is the struggle for connectivity in a disjointed and harsh reality. As Claudia Rankine noted about Some Ether,
We are guided by a stunning and solitary voice into lives that have spiritually and physically imploded. No one survives and still there is so much to be felt. Here is sorrow and madness reconciled to humanity.
Before starting his writing career, Flynn worked as a ship’s captain and at a homeless shelter in Boston. He has taught at Columbia University and currently teaches at the University of Houston. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.