He was born in Hemet, California, spent his early childhood in Southern California, and later lived in the Pacific Northwest. He earned a BS in Arts & Letters (in English & Philosophy) from Portland State University (1996), an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana (1999), and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Denver (2005), where he was a Frankel Fellow. He was a visiting writer at Brown University (2006) and a Bates College Learning Associate (2010).
Since 2009, he has been a professor at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, teaching graduate workshops in the MFA program as well as undergraduate courses in poetry. With Mark Tursi, he is a founding editor of Apostrophe Books, a small press of poetry, which began publishing books in 2007.