Lesser earned her bachelor's degree at Yale University in 1974. She studied at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden from 1974 to 1975 and received her MFA from Columbia University in 1977. She has produced three collections of her own poetry, including Etruscan Things (1983), and her prose translations include A Living Soul by P. C. Jersild and Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse.
- Growing back: poems, 1972-1992. University of South Carolina Press. 1997. ISBN 978-1-57003-233-2.
- All we need of hell: poems. University of North Texas Press. 1995. ISBN 978-0-929398-92-1.
- Etruscan things: poems. G. Braziller. 1983. ISBN 978-0-8076-1058-9.
- Gunnar Ekelöf (1980). Guide to the Underworld. Translator Rika Lesser. University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 978-0-87023-306-7.
- Hansel and Gretel (1984) (Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky)
- Rainer Maria Rilke (1986). Between Roots-selected Poems Rendered from German. Translator Rika Lesser. s.n.
- Sigrid Heuck (1988). The Hideout / Sigrid Heuck. Translator Rika Lesser. Douglas & McIntyre, Limited. ISBN 978-0-88833-266-0.
- Sonnevi, Goran (February 22, 1993). A Child Is Not a Knife: Selected Poems of Goran Sonnevi. tr. & ed.: Lesser, Rika. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-01543-9. Retrieved September 21, 2012.
- "Lesser, Rika". PEN American Center. Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2007-11-11.
|This biographical article about an American poet born in the 1950s is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|
|This biography about a translator from the United States is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|