Romtvedt was born in Portland, Oregon and was raised in southern Arizona. He returned to the Pacific Northwest to attend Reed College, graduating in 1972 with a BA in American Studies. He received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and was a graduate fellow in Folklore and Ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin. After serving in the Peace Corps in Zaire (currently Congo) and Rwanda and on a sister city construction project in Jalapa, Nicaragua, he worked as the folk arts program manager for the Centrum Foundation. He has worked as a carpenter, tree planter, truck driver, book store clerk, assembly line operative, letter carrier, blueberry picker, ranch hand, and college professor.
His most recent book of poetry is Some Church, published by Milkweed Editions in fall 2005. He is also the author of Windmill: Essays from Four Mile Ranch, two books of fiction—Crossing Wyoming and Free and Compulsory for All—and several books of poetry including Certainty, How Many Horses, Moon and the National Poetry Series selection A Flower Whose Name I Do Not Know. He has edited two anthologies—Deep West and Wyoming Fence Lines. A recipient of two NEA fellowships, the Pushcart Prize, and the Wyoming Governor’s Arts Award, Romtvedt serves as the poet laureate of the state of Wyoming.
With the Fireants, Romtvedt performs creole dance music of the Americas and has released three recordings, It’s Hot (About Three Weeks a Year), Bury my Clothes, and Ants on Ice. The Fireants have performed throughout the Rocky Mountain states as well as at the Encuentro de Dos Tradiciones in Mexico City and Ciudad Altamirano, Mexico.
Romtvedt has served as manager of the Centrum Foundation’s International Folk Dance and Music Festival and Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. He has been a staff musician at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop and at the Sierra Swing Festival. He recently completed a series of radio programs on traditional musics of the American Southwest for Wyoming and Montana National Public Radio.
David lives in Buffalo, Wyoming with his wife, the potter Margo Brown.