Born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Don Bogen grew up there and in Pasadena, California. He earned his A.B., M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked with Thom Gunn and Josephine Miles. He began teaching at the University of Cincinnati in 1976.
Bogen received a Discovery Award in 1980 and Grand Prize in the Associated Writing Programs Anniversary Awards competition in 1982. His first book of poetry, After the Splendid Display, was published by Wesleyan University Press in 1986. It was followed by three others: The Known World (Wesleyan, 1997); Luster (Wesleyan, 2003); and An Algebra (University of Chicago, 2009). A critical book based on his work with the Roethke Papers at the University of Washington, A Necessary Order: Theodore Roethke and the Writing Process, came out from Ohio University Press in 1991.
Awards for Bogen's work include The Writer / Emily Dickinson Award of the Poetry Society of America, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and residencies at Yaddo and the Camargo Foundation. He has held Fulbright positions in Spain and at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry of Queen's University, Belfast and served as visiting poet in residence at the University of California, Irvine. His poems have appeared in many journals in the U.S. and abroad, including The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Poetry, Slate, Stand, and The Yale Review. He has reviewed a dozen books for The Nation and published other reviews in American Book Review, The Kenyon Review, The Threepenny Review, and other journals.
In addition to his work in poetry, Don Bogen is active as a translator and has collaborated with composers in the U.S. and abroad. His versions of the work of contemporary Spanish poet Julio Martínez Mesanza have appeared in Boston Review, Pleiades and other journals, and in 2008 he was awarded a Witter Bynner Poetry Translator Residency at the Santa Fe Arts Institute. Bogen has given many readings, talks, and workshops across the U.S. and in Europe. At the University of Cincinnati he teaches literature and creative writing, working extensively with doctoral students in the creative-dissertation program. Don Bogen is currently McMicken Professor of English and Comparative Literature and serves as poetry editor of The Cincinnati Review.