Bob Holman was born in LaFollette, Tennessee, on March 10, 1948, and raised in Kentucky and Ohio. He received a BA in English from Columbia College in 1970.
A tireless promoter of poetry and performance, Holman began his career in New York City as a coordinator at the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church in 1978 and later, in 1988, as co-director with Miguel Algarin of the Nuyorican Poets Cafe where he hosted the renowned Poetry Slam series. Holman brought poetry to television producing "Words in Your Face" and "The United States of Poetry" for PBS in the 1990s. He launched the record label Mouth Almighty/Mercury Records in 1995. In 2001, he founded and opened the Bowery Poetry Club, a venue for poetry, spoken word, slam, and other literary events in New York City. In 2010 he founded the Endangered Language Alliance to help document and preserve human languages in danger of disappearing.
A translator and editor of numerous books, Holman is the author of more than five poetry collections, including Sing This One Back to Me (Coffee House Press, 2013), Picasso in Barcelona (Paper Kite Press, 2011), and The Collect Call of the Wild (Henry Holt, 1995).
He received the Elizabeth Kray Award from Poets House in 2006 and the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers in 2003. He has taught at Bard College, Columbia University, and the New School, and was a visiting lecturer at Princeton University in 2017. He lives in New York City.