Lerner was born in Topeka, Kansas. He is the author of three books of poetry The
Lichtenberg Figures, Angle of Yaw, and Mean Free Path. He has
been a finalist for the National Book Award and the Northern California Book
Award, a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, and the recipient of a 2010–2011 Howard
Foundation Fellowship. In 2011 he became the first American to win the Preis
der Stadt Münster für Internationale Poesie.