Jonathan Galassi was born in 1949 in Seattle, Washington. His interest in poetry, writing and literature was awakened while attending Phillips Exeter Academy. He subsequently attended Harvard College, graduating in 1971. As a Marshall Scholar at Christ’s College, Cambridge, he realized he wanted a career in book publishing. This began at Houghton Mifflin in Boston, led him to Random House in New York and ultimately landed him at Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 1985. After having been editor-in-chief, Galassi now holds the offices of president and publisher of FSG. Galassi is also a published translator of works by Italian poets such as Giacomo Leopardi and Eugenio.
Galassi has published several poems, some in literary magazines and journals such as »Threepenny Review«, »The Nation« and »The New Yorker«, and others in book form: »Morning Run« (1988), »North Street« (2000) and »Left-Handed« (2012). »The New York Times« wrote that Galassi’s poetry was characterized by its directness and is remarkable for its mastery of technique and utter absence of arrogance. In 2015 Galassi published his first novel, »Muse«, which combines his love of literature with his many years of experience in the publishing world. He writes that in New York in the 1960s, a golden age for printed books, magic words in poetry and prose were for the reader like alcohol, perfume, sex and fame. The editor of a small New York publishing house is fascinated by the author Ida Perkins, who keeps readers in suspense with her bold verse. As his own existence seems to be fading in comparison to the literary greats he stewards at the publishing house, the novel’s protagonist sets out on a search for Perkins, who ultimately entrusts him with her greatest secret, one that is sure to turn the literary world upside down. A »New Yorker« critic concluded that »Muse« offers not only a peek behind the curtains of the publishing industry, but also takes inspiration from the belief that writing has the power to change lives. Despite any pretense for nostalgia, Galassi’s satirical verve always keeps its distance; he also describes the downside of publishing.
For ten years Galassi was poetry editor at »The Paris Review«; he is currently an honorary chairman of the Academy of American Poets. In 2008 he received the Maxwell E. Perkins Award for his role as editor, publisher and agent in the discovery and promotion of writers in the United States. Galassi lives in Brooklyn.