Katz attended the University of Chicago, where, in 1982, he got Bachelor of Arts. He also attended the St. John's College where, in 1985, he got his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees.
Katz has curated exhibitions of the work of Rudy Burckhardt for IVAM in Valencia, Spain and the Grey Art Gallery in New York. He wrote the essay and interview for the first study of Francesco Clemente’s portraits and is the editor and one of the authors of Black Mountain College: Experiment in Art. Katz has also published two books of translation: Charm, Translations from Latin of Roman Poet Sextus Propertius (Book I) and, most recently, The Complete Elegies of Sextus Propertius, which won the 2005 National Translation Award from the American Literary Translators Association.
“I have different motivations for different types of writing. For art criticism, I like to feel I am providing a useful service, and I have a starting point, which is my reaction to a work of art. Translation is similar, in that I’m reacting to a work of art, but it’s closer to home, since it’s poetry, and there is an immense pleasure in getting inside another poet’s mechanism for making a poem work. It’s a little like puzzle-solving: there seems to be one correct solution ultimately. I write poetry to amuse myself, adhering to Ted Berrigan’s dictum that, whenever one has the urge to write a poem, one should do so. Writing a poem, or part of a poem, seems to add meaning to a day, to preserve some aspect of it, much as I imagine a painter must feel having painted a certain day’s light on a specific sight.“
"I write for myself - for fun, or in serious moments, to make sense of a situation. I am always aware of other poetry I have read and other poetry I have written. I make a conscious effort, each time I write poetry, to have my current poetry stand in certain relation to other poetry. Sometimes it is referential, ‘in the style of,’ but more often I am attempting to achieve a new style."
"My daily life influences my work a lot and, when I’m lucky, that is composed of people I enjoy, my family, my dog, familiar sights and sounds. Travel also opens my senses, and the relief from daily routines provides an additional impetus to write."
“I often write poetry on the move, in a little notebook that I cany with me - in the subway, the library, or at a movie. Pearl was written entirely in one notebook, at home, usually very early in the morning, in varying states of consciousness, with one rule: I didn’t allow myself to read anything I’d written until I reached the end of the notebook. In this way I achieved a much more varied texture that I would have been able to do with continuous conscious control."
“What has inspired me? Life, love, the city and its crazy people, who are ultimately humane and forgiving.”
On November 16, 1987, Katz married Vivien Taques Bittencourt. They have two children: Isaac and Oliver.