Herbert Gold was born in Cleveland in 1924. When he was 17, he moved to New York City, after several of his poems were published in New York literary magazines. He studied philosophy at Columbia University, and there became involved with the Beat Generation in its nascent stages, cultivating what would become a lifelong friendship with Allen Ginsberg. After he won a Fulbright Scholarship, Gold moved to Paris, where he finished his first novel, Birth of a Hero, published by Viking Press in 1951. He taught English literature at Cornell University in 1958, as Vladimir Nabokov’s temporary successor. He later took to traveling as he wrote, notably to Haiti, the subject of Best Nightmare on Earth: A Life in Haiti (2001), and Detroit, and hitchhiking all over the U.S. He eventually settled in San Francisco, where he remains an important figure on the literary scene. Gold is a prolific writer, with over twenty published books to his credit, plus numerous articles, essays, interviews, and poetry published in a wide array of periodicals.