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Robert McNamara has published four books of poetry, Abiding Time (Lynx House Press), Incomplete Strangers (Lost Horse Press), The Body & the Day (David Robert Books), and Second Messengers (Wesleyan UP).His poems have appeared in dozens journals as well as in a number of anthologies, among them The Sorrow Psalms: A Book of Twentieth Century Elegy (Iowa) and The Book of Irish-American Poetry (Notre Dame). He co-translated The Cat Under the Stairs (EWU Press), a selection of the poems of the distinguished Bengali poet, Sarat Kumar Mukhopadhyay. He has received fellowships from the Indo-US Subcommission for language study and translation in India as well as a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

For most of his professional life, Bob has taught writing. He began teaching writing at the Experimental College at UC Boulder, then at the  Rocky Mountain Writers Guild. After receinng his PhD, he settled into teaching academic writing at the University of Washington, where he also and briefly taught in the Certificate Program in Creative Writing and was the University Director of the Puget Sound Writing Project, offering professional development to K-12 teachers to help them grow as teachers of writing.  He retired from university teaching in 2016. Since then, he has since volunteered with Minds Matter, helping to prepare students from low-income backgrounds for college.

In 1976 he founded L'Epervier Press, which in its fourteen years of activity published forty-five titles by more than thirty poets.