A fourth generation native of Northern California, Tim Hunt was born in Calistoga and raised primarily in Sebastopol, two small towns north of San Francisco. As a boy he identified strongly with the Lake County region of his father’s family, where his aunt taught him “I Can Tell You Are a Logger ‘Cause You Stir Your Coffee with Your Thumb,” while a rockabilly cousin offered “Heartbreak Hotel.” Before heading east to school, he also discovered such wonders as “Section 43” by Country Joe and the Fish. In his teen years he dreamed of playing guitar like Carl Perkins and being able to sing like Fred Neil.
Educated at Cornell University, he has taught American literature at several schools, including Washington State University and Deep Springs College. At the end of 2016, he retired from Illinois State University, where he was University Professor of English. He and his wife Susan, a retired respiratory therapist, have two children: John, a visual artist, and Jessica, a musician and composer. Hunt once claimed to have been the rhythm guitarist in the band Derridean Debris, though to the best of his knowledge no such band ever existed. He is, though, fortunate enough to own a fine 12-string that he promises himself he will eventually learn to play as well as it deserves.
Hunt’s scholarly publications include Kerouac’s Crooked Road: Development of a Fiction, The Textuality of Soulwork: Jack Kerouac’s Quest for Spontaneous Prose, and the five volumes of The Collected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers. Hunt has also published three collections of poetry: Fault Lines, The Tao of Twang, and Poem’s Poems & Other Poems, received three Pushcart Prize nominations, and been awarded the Chester H. Jones National Poetry Prize for the poem “Lake County Elegy.”