Stephen Rodefer (November 20, 1940 – August 22, 2015) was an American poet and painter who lived in Paris and London. Born in Bellaire, Ohio, he knew many of the early beat and Black Mountain poets, including Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Charles Olson, and Robert Creeley. Rodefer, one of the original LANGUAGE poets, taught at many universities, including Cambridge University, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, San Francisco State, and the American University of Paris. Rodefer was the first American poet to be offered a Fellowship at Cambridge University.
With graduate degrees from the State University of New York (SUNY) Buffalo and from San Francisco State University, Rodefer was the author of One or Two Love Poems from the White World, The Bell Clerk's Tears Keep Flowing, Four Lectures (which was a winner of the American Poetry Center’s Annual Book Award), Oriflamme Day (with poet Benjamin Friedlander), Emergency Measures, Passing Duration, Leaving, Erasures, Left Under A Cloud, Call It Thought, and Mon Canard, among other titles.
His essay on canon-formation, "The Age in its Cage: A Note to Mr Mendelssohn on the Sociologic Allegory of Literature and the Deformation of the Canonymous", was featured in the Chicago Review, and that literary journal published a special issue devoted entirely to his work in 2008.
In addition to Villon, Rodefer published translations of Sappho, selections from the Greek Anthology, Catullus, Lucretius, Dante, Baudelaire, Rilke, Frank O’Hara and the Cuban poet Noel Nicola.
His graphic work, LANGUAGE PICTURES, has been exhibited in recent years in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Paris and Prague.
Stephen Rodefer died at the age of 74 in his Paris atelier in August 2015. His papers (Stephen Rodefer Papers 1955-1994) are on permanent view at the Department of Special Collections, Green Library, Stanford University.
At the time of his death he was translating Baudelaire for a collection to be published next year, titled 'Baudelaire OH/Fever Flowers: Les fleurs du val.'