Early life and education
He graduated from Purdue University (Ph.D., American Studies), the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (M.F.A., Creative Writing/Poetry), the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars (M.A., Creative Writing/Poetry) and New York University (B.A., English and American Literature).
His poetry, essays, and translations have appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Mid-American Review, The New Republic and The New Yorker.
- 2016 [Finalist] National Book Award in Poetry for The Abridged History of Rainfall 
- 2014 National “Best Books” Award from USA Book News for Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry
- 2010/2011 Rome Fellowship in Literature from the American Academy of Arts & Letters/The American Academy in Rome
- 2009 Whiting Award
- 2009 Lannan Foundation Fellowship
- 2007 National “Best Books” Award from USA Book News for Green Squall
- 2007 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, for Green Squall
- 2006 Florida Book Award for Green Squall
- 2006 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award for Green Squall
- 2005 Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, for Green Squall, chosen by Louise Glück
- The Abridged History of Rainfall. McSweeney's Poetry Series. 2016. ISBN 978-1944211264.
- Green Squall. Yale University Press. 2006. ISBN 978-0-300-11454-6.
- Jay Hopler & Kimberly Johnson, eds. (2013). Before the Door of God: An Anthology of Devotional Poetry. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300175202.
- Jay Hopler, ed. (1996). The Killing Spirit: An Anthology of Murder for Hire. Overlook Press. ISBN 978-0-87951-661-1. ( Canongate Books 1996)