Born during the Great Depression, I grew up in a poor family in rural New Jersey. But, through a series of happy accidents, I did get a good education: BA from St. Anselm's, MA from the University of California at Berkeley, and finally, in 1964, a PhD from Columbia. I subsequently spent forty-five years teaching literature, mainly poetry, to college students. The last forty of those years I worked at New York University, where I taught a very wide range of courses from Shakespeare and Milton to Blake, Whitman, and Plath and designed my own seminars in what has become for me a special focus, the interaction of brain and language in the reading experience.Since ‘90s I've written several books on this topic, including Reading the Written Image, The Poetics of The Mind’s Eye, and Authority Figures. This year (2013) Columbia University Press published Paleopoetics, a book in which I project the functions of imagination and language onto some 2.5 million years of human evolutionary time. My wife and I have two children, two grandchildren, and two cats.