J. D. McClatchy was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, in 1945. He was educated at Georgetown and Yale, from which he received his Ph.D. in 1974.
His selected poems, Division of Spoils
, appeared in England in 2003. He has also published two collections of essays: Twenty Questions
(1998) and White Paper
(1989); has edited nearly twenty books, including Horace, The Odes: New Translation by Contemporary Poets
(2003), The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry
(1996), The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry
(1990; second edition, 2003), and Poets on Painters
(1988); continues to edit the acclaimed "Voice of the Poet" series for Random House AudioBooks.
McClatchy has also written many texts for musical settings, including eight opera libretti, for such composers as William Schuman, Ned Rorem, Lorin Maazel, Lowell Liebermann, and Elliot Goldenthal, performed in opera houses around the world.
About McClatchy's work, the poet Anthony Hecht said, "There are very few poets writing today who, poem by poem, move me from admiration to admiration, and always with renewed and novel delight. There is no poet writing whose intelligence, dexterity, wit or depth of thoughtfulness or feeling is greater or more telling than J. D. McClatchy's."
His honors include an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has also been one of the New York Public Literary Lions, and received the 2000 Connecticut Governor’s Arts Award. He received the 1991 fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, and served as an Academy Chancellor from 1996 until 2003. He is a lecturer in English at Yale University and the editor of the Yale Review. He lives in Stonington, Connecticut.