David Romtvedt

David Romtvedt

David 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 Zaïre (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 latest book of poetry, No Way: An American Tao Te Ching was published by the Louisiana State University press in 2021. His past books of poetry include The Tree of Gernika, Dilemmas of the Angels, Some Church, Certainty, How Many Horses, Moon, and the National Poetry Series Selection, A Flower Whose Name I Do Not Know. His fiction titles are: Zelestina Urza in Outer Space, Crossing Wyoming, Letters from Mexico (limited edition), and Free and Compulsory for All. His nonfiction was collected in Windmill: Essays from Four Mile Ranch. He has edited two anthologies: Deep West and Wyoming Fence Lines. Romtvedt's work has appeared in various magazines including: The American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, Georgia Review, The The New York Times Magazine, Orion, Strings, Ploughshares, The Sun, Prairie Schooner, and Narrative. Romtvedt has also worked as a translator and in 2020 the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada published Gernikako arbola / The Tree of Gernika, his translations (in collaboration with Xabier Irujo) of the nineteenth century Basque poet and troubadour Joxi Mari Iparragirre.

A recipient of two NEA fellowships, the Pushcart Prize, and the Wyoming Governor's Arts Award, Romtvedt served as the poet laureate of the state of Wyoming from 2003 to 2011.

With the Fireants, Romtvedt plays the button accordion and 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 served as the program manager for the Centrum Foundation's Festival of American Fiddle Tunes and International Folk Dance and Music Festival and continues to work with the Children's Band Lab program at Fiddle Tunes. He has been a staff musician at Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Sierra Swing, Pinewoods Family Week, and Big Sur Fiddle Camp. With Mike Brown he produced a five-part radio documentary on traditional musics of the United States. He is the founder and a current board member of Worlds of Music.

Romtvedt currently serves as an emeritus professor of creative writing at the University of Wyoming where he taught in the MFA program. Also at Wyoming, he taught honors humanities and diversity courses focused on food and music cultures in the Americas. He has also taught at the Aegean Center for the Arts and the Fish Trap Writers' Conference. He directed the translation workshop at the University of Chihuahua, taught Contemporary African Literature at the National University of Rwanda, and worked in the Artists-in-the-Schools programs in Alaska, Washington, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming. His board service includes the National Council on the Aging, the Johnson County Library, the Wyoming Center for the Book, the Wyoming Arts Council, the Wyoming Humanities Council, and the Western States Arts Federation.

Romtvedt lives in Buffalo, Wyoming with his wife, the potter Margo Brown.