Rafael Campo was born in 1964 in Dover, New Jersey. A graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Medical School, he currently teaches and practices general internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where his medical practice serves mostly Latinos, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered people, and people with HIV infection. He is also on the faculty of Lesley University’s MFA program in creative writing.
He is the author of The Other Man Was Me (Arte Publico Press, Houston, 1994), which won the 1993 National Poetry Series Award; What the Body Told (Duke University Press, Durham, 1996), which won a Lambda Literary Award for Poetry; and The Poetry of Healing: A Doctor’s Education in Empathy, Identity, and Desire (W. IV. Norton, New York, 1997), a collection of essays now available in paperback under the title The Desire to Heal, which also won a Lambda Literary Award, for memoir.
His poetry and prose have appeared in many major anthologies, including Best American Poetry 1995 (Scribner, New York, 1995), Things Shaped in Passing: More “Poets for Life” Writing from the AIDS Pandemic (Persea, New York, 1996), Currents in the Dancing River: Contemporary Latino Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry (Harcourt Brace, New York, 1994), and Gay Men at the Millennium (Putnam, New York, 1997); and in numerous prominent periodicals, including DoubleTake, the Lancet, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, the New York Times Magazine, the New Republic, Out, the Paris Review, The Progressive, Salon, Slate, the Threepenny Review, and the Washington Post Book World. His work has also been featured on the National Endowment for the Arts’ website and on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation. With the support of a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, he wrote Diva (Duke University Press, 1999), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, and Lambda Literary Awards for poetry. He is a recipient of the Annual Achievement Award from the National Hispanic Academy of Arts and Sciences, and he has served as Visiting Writer at Amherst College and George A. Miller Endowment Visiting Scholar at the University of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana.
He is currently serving as Fanny Hurst Visiting Poet at Brandeis University. He is also considered an important translator of the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. His newest collection of poetry, The Enemy, was published in April 2007.
Rafael Campo was interviewed in our first edition of Synapse, Literature & Medicine’s e-zine. You can read it here.