In 1954 his family moved to suburban Boston.In 1959 the family moved to New Canaan, Connecticut, where he attended public schools.He graduated from Ithaca College cum laude with a B.A..He graduated from Columbia University with an MFA in 1990. He was a fiction editor of Columbia:A Magazine of Poetry and Prose.
He married the painter Juliet Karelsen, on 23 June, 1990. In 2000, they had a daughter, Elysia.He taught at the University of Maine at Farmington, from 1991 to 1995., and Ohio State University.In 2001, he retired to write full time, and returned with his family to Maine.He holds the Jenks Chair in Contemporary American Letters at the College of the Holy Cross.
His work appeared in The Missouri Review, Granta, Harper's, Iowa Review, Witness.