Richard Vargas was born in Compton, CA. He earned his B.A. at Cal State University, Long Beach, where he studied under Gerald Locklin. He edited/published five issues of The Tequila Review, 1978-1980, publishing early works by Jimmy Santiago Baca, Alberto Rios, Nila Northsun, and many more. His first book, McLife, was featured twice, during Feb 2006, on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. A second book, American Jesus, was published by Tia Chucha Press, 2007.
His third book, Guernica, revisited, was published April 2014, by Press 53, and was featured once more on the Writer's Almanac. Vargas received his MFA from the University of New Mexico, 2010, where he workshopped his poetry with Joy Harjo. He was recipient of the 2011 Taos Summer Writers’ Conference’s Hispanic Writer Award, was on the faculty of the 2012 10th National Latino Writers Conference and facilitated a workshop at the 2015 Taos Summer Writers’ Conference. Vargas also edited/published The Más Tequila Review from 2009-2015, featuring poets from across the country. His poetry continues to appear in poetry journals and anthologies, while his fourth book, How A Civilization Begins, will be published and released on September 8, 2022, by MouthFeel Press. Currently, he resides in Wisconsin, near the lake where Otis Redding’s plane crashed.