Sze attended the University of California, Berkeley. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Conjunctions, The Kenyon Review, Manoa, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and the Virginia Quarterly Review, and have been translated into Albanian, Chinese, Dutch, Italian, Romanian, and Turkish. He has authored eight books of poetry, including The Ginkgo Light (Copper Canyon Press, 2009) and Compass Rose (Copper Canyon Press, 2014). This latter volume was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
He has been included in anthologies such as Articulations: The Body and Illness in Poetry (University of Iowa Press, 1994), Premonitions: The Kaya Anthology of New Asian North American Poetry, (Kaya Production, 1995), I Feel a Little Jumpy around You (Simon & Schuster, 1996), What Book!?: Buddhist Poems from Beats to Hiphop (Parallax Press 1998), and American Alphabets (Oberlin College Press, 2006).
He was a Visiting Hurst Professor at Washington University, a Doenges Visiting Artist at Mary Baldwin College, and has conducted residencies at Brown University, Bard College, and Naropa University. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts, is the first poet laureate of Santa Fe and has won three grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry.
in 2012, Sze was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
The poet Jackson Mac Low has said: "The word 'compassion' is much overused, 'clarity' less so, but Arthur Sze is truly a poet of clarity and compassion." Albuquerque Journal reviewer John Tritica: commented that Sze "resides somewhere in the intersection of Taoist contemplation, Zen rock gardens and postmodern experimentation." Critic R.W. French notes that Sze's poems "are complex in thought and perception; in language, however, they have the cool clarity of porcelain. The surface is calm, while the depths are resonant. There is about these poems a sense of inevitability, as though they could not possibly be other than what they are. They move precisely through their patterns like a dancer, guided by the discipline that controls and inspires."
- Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers’ Award
- Guggenheim Fellowship,
- American Book Award
- Lannan Literary Award for Poetry,
- Two National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing fellowships
- George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation Fellowship
- Western States Book Award for Translation.
- Jackson Poetry Prize, 2013 (awarded by Poets & Writers)
- The Willow Wind, Rainbow Zenith Press (Berkeley, CA), 1972,
- The Willow Wind: Poems and Translations from the Chinese, Tooth of Time Books (Santa Fe, NM), revised edition 1981.
- Two Ravens, Tooth of Time Books (Guadalupita, NM), 1976,
- Two Ravens: Poems and Translations from the Chinese, revised edition 1984.
- Dazzled, Floating Island Publications (Point Reyes, CA), 1982.
- River River, Lost Roads Publishers (Providence, RI), 1987.
- Archipelago, (Copper Canyon Press, 1995) (Port Townsend, WA).
- The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998, (Copper Canyon Press, 1998).
- Quipu (Copper Canyon Press, 2005).
- The Ginkgo Light (Copper Canyon Press, 2009).
- Chinese Writers on Writing. Ed. Arthur Sze. (Trinity University Press, 2010).
- Compass Rose (Copper Canyon Press, 2014).
- Sight Lines (Copper Canyon Press, 2019).
- The Silk Dragon: Translations of Chinese Poetry (Copper Canyon Press, 2001).
- Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology (University of Georgia Press, 2018).
- Virginia Quarterly Review Archived 2008-12-01 at the Wayback Machine, vqronline.org; accessed 16 June 2015.
- "Copper Canyon Press: The Ginkgo Light by Arthur Sze". www.coppercanyonpress.org. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- "Copper Canyon Press: Compass Rose, Poetry by Arthur Sze". www.coppercanyonpress.org. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- "2015 Pulitzer Prizes". www.pulitzer.org. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- Sze, Arthur (4 February 2014). "Arthur Sze". Arthur Sze. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- R.W. French. "Arthur Sze: "The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998"". Archived from the original on April 18, 2010. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
- "Guggenheim Fellowship". gf.org. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- Lannan profile
- Press, Associated. "Updated: Santa Fe's Arthur Sze Wins Major Poetry Prize". www.abqjournal.com. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- Profile at the Poetry Foundation
- Profile and poems at Poets.org
- "An E-view with Arthur Sze", Rebecca Seiferle, The Drunken Boat
- Lunch Poems: Arthur Sze, UCTV, 4-28-08 (30 mins, audio)
- "Add-Verse" a poetry-photo-video project Arthur Sze participated in
- Sze reading at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on 1 April 1997. Video (30 mins)
- "Looking Back on the Muckleshoot Reservation from Galisteo Street, Santa Fe". The New Yorker. May 26, 2008.
- "Aqueous Gold". Boston Review. February–March 2004.