Born 1926 in Madison, Minnesota (not Wisconsin!). His personal, precisely observant poems are collected in such volumes as The Light Around the Body (1967) and Loving a Woman in Two Worlds (1985).

Also a publisher, he has printed translations of lesser-known foreign poets. Since the early 1980s Bly has been active in the men's movement, concerned with establishing a new idea of masculinity in contemporary society. His book Iron John (1990) deals with the passage from boyhood to manhood.