Robert Alexander grew up in Massachusetts. He attended the University of Wisconsin, and for several years taught in the Madison public schools. After receiving his Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, he worked for many years as a freelance editor. From 1993 to 2001, he was a contributing editor at New Rivers Press, also serving from 1999 to 2001 as New Rivers' creative director. He is currently co-editor, with Nickole Brown, of the Marie Alexander Poetry Series at White Pine Press. He divides his time between southern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.