Poet, editor, writer, and painter Alan Kaufman is author of the critically-acclaimed memoir Jew Boy (2000) as well as the novel Matches (2005) and a second memoir, Drunken Angel (2011).
Born and raised in the Bronx, he earned a BA at City College of New York before moving to Israel, where he served in the Israel Defense Forces. Returning to NYC he studied fiction in the MFA program at Columbia University,then relocated to San Francisco. There he helped to build the community of performance poets at Cafe Babar, lead the 1993 San Francisco Poets Strike, organized WORDLAND: The Antifascist Spoken Word Ballroom (1993) and in 2011 launched The Free University of San Francisco. In addition to his involvement with the Spoken Word community, Kaufman has also been a central figure in the Jewish countercultural movement, co-editing It's the Jews! A Celebration of New Jewish Visions (1995, with Danny Shot) and editing the contraversial groundbreaking magazine Davka: Jewish Cultural Revolution.
Influenced by Walt Whitman and Charles Bukowski, Kaufman writes free verse and spoken word poems that often engage themes of spirituality, identity, and cultural memory. His poetry books include American Cruiser (1990), Before I Wake (1993), Who Are We? (1997) and Straight Jacket Elegies (2015). His essays appear widely in journals such as the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, Huffington Post, Evergreen Review and the Partisan Review.
Kaufman is also the editor of several anthologies: The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry (1999), The Outlaw Bible of American Literature (2004, co-edited with Barney Rosset), The Outlaw Bible of American Essays (2006) and The Outlaw Bible of American Art (2016).
His own work has been included in many anthologies, including ALOUD: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe (1994, edited by Muguel Algarin, Bob Holman, and Nicole Blackman) and Nothing Makes You Free: Writings from Descendants of Holocaust Survivors (1993, edited by Melvin Jules Bukiet).
A resident of New York City, Kaufman holds American, French, and Israeli citizenship. A broad selection of his books, paintings, notebooks, photographs and marginalia are available to be seen in The Alan Kaufman papers in the special Collections library of the University of Delaware.