Born in the Mojave Desert in Barstow, California, Forrest Gander grew up in Virginia and spent significant years in San Francisco, Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico, Eureka Springs, AR, and Providence, RI. He married the poet C.D. Wright with whom he has a son, Brecht Wright Gander. Forrest Gander holds degrees in both geology and English literature.

Concerned with the way we are revised and translated in encounters with the foreign, his book
Core Samples from the World was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Gander has collaborated frequently with other artists including photographers Sally Mann, Graciela Iturbide, Raymond Meeks, and Lucas Foglia, glass artist Michael Rogers, ceramic artists Rick Hirsch and Ashwini Bhat, artists Ann Hamilton,Tjibbe Hooghiemstra, dancers Eiko & Koma, and musicians Vic Chesnutt and Brady Earnhart, among others.

The author of numerous other books of poetry, including
Redstart: An Ecological Poetics and Science & Steepleflower, Gander also writes novels (As a Friend; The Trace), essays (A Faithful Existence) and translates. His most recent translations are Alice Iris Red Horse: Poems of Gozo Yoshimasu, Then Come Back: the Lost Neruda Poems and Fungus Skull Eye Wing: Selected Poems of Alfonso D'Aquino. His most recent anthologies are Pinholes in the Night: Essential Poems from Latin American (selected by Raúl Zurita) and Panic Cure: Poems from Spain for the 21st Century.

Gander's books have been translated and published in France, Mexico, Chile, Spain, Bulgaria, Japan, China, Germany, Turkey, Italy, and the Netherlands. He is a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow and has received fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim, Whiting, and Howard Foundations. In 2011, he was awarded the Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellowship. Gander was the Briggs-Copeland poet at Harvard University before becoming The Adele Kellenberg Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature at Brown University where he taught courses such as Poetry & Ethics, EcoPoetics, Latin American Death Trip, and Translation Theory & Practice.