A fourth generation Californian, 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 & the Fish. In his teen years he dreamed of playing guitar like Carl Perkins and being able to sing like Fred Neil. He once claimed to have been rhythm guitarist in the band Derridean Debris, which to the best of his knowledge never 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.
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. He and his wife Susan, a retired respiratory therapist, have two children: John, a visual artist, and Jessica, a composer.
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 four collections of poetry: Fault Lines, The Tao of Twang, Poem’s Poems & Other Poems, and Ticket Stubs & Liner Notes (winner of the 2018 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award), received three Pushcart Prize nominations, and been awarded the Chester H. Jones National Poetry Prize for the poem “Lake County Elegy.”