In third grade Robert knew that books would be his life—reading them, writing them, and making them. He studied literature and languages, eventually earning a master’s degree in comparative literature.
He has been a teacher, a book-store clerk, a journal editor, a translator, a book designer, a proofreader, a small-press publisher, a writer, and he has certificates in bookbinding and hand printing. For thirty-four years he worked as an editor for Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing. He is a member of both the West Michigan and International Thomas Merton Societies, the Traherne Association, and the North American Dante Society, and he serves on the board of the Calvin University Center for Faith and Writing.
He is the author of The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style, 4th Edition (2016)—a volume that has become a standard reference in Christian publishing. His articles and poetry have appeared in Christianity Today, The Other Side, The Mennonite, The Seneca Review, Mars Hill Review, and other magazines and journals. For four years he blogged for WorkingPOET.com and edited their online newsletter.
Bob and his wife, Shelley (who is an award-winning poet), play fiddle and banjo, respectively, in an old-time Southern string band called Gooder’n Grits (here’s their LINK). They play for barn dances and festivals throughout West Michigan. They have three daughters: Abbie, Molly, and Lili.
Seeing Jesus: Visionary Encounters from the First Century to the Present (Broadleaf Books 2021) LINK
The Further Adventures of Jack the Giant Killer: Southern Retellings of the World’s Oldest Stories (Chapbook Press / Perkipery Press 2021) LINK
The Poet and the Fly: Art, Nature, God, Mortality, and Other Elusive Mysteries (Broadleaf Books 2020) LINK
The Art of the Almost Said: A Christian Writer’s Guide to Poetry Writing (Bold Vision Books 2019) LINK
The Monk’s Record Player: Thomas Merton, Bob Dylan, and the Perilous Summer of 1965 (Eerdmans 2018) LINK
Four Birds of Noah’s Ark: A Prayer Book from the Time of Shakespeare (Eerdmans 2017) LINK
Kiss the Earth When You Pray: The Father Zosima Poems (Apocryphile, 2016) LINK
The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style, 4th Edition(Zondervan, 2016) LINK