Born in the Mojave Desert in Barstow, California, Forrest Gander grew up in Virginia and spent significant periods in San Francisco, Dolores Hidalgo (Mexico), and Eureka Springs, Arkansas before moving to Rhode Island. He holds degrees in both English literature and geology.

The author of numerous books of poetry, including
Core Samples from the World, Eye Against Eye, and Science & Steepleflower, all from New Directions, Gander also writes novels (As a Friend), essays (A Faithful Existence) and translates. His most recent translations are Watchword (which won the Villaurrutia Prize) by Pura López Colomé; Spectacle & Pigsty by Kiwao Nomura (co-translated with Kyoko Yoshida); and Firefly Under the Tongue: Selected Poems of Coral Bracho (Finalist, PEN Translation Prize).

Gander's poems appear in many literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad, and have been translated into a dozen languages. His books (see
Books) in translation are available in France, Mexico, Chile, Spain, Bulgaria, Japan, 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. The Adele Kellenberg Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature at Brown University, Gander teaches courses such as Poetry & Ethics, EcoPoetics, Latin American Death Trip, and Translation Theory & Practice.