Paul Kane was educated at Yale College and received graduate degrees from Yale University and later Melbourne University, where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar in 1984-1985. His first visit to Australia was in 1980. He has served as poet-in-residence and teacher at several schools and was Schweitzer Preceptor in Poetics at New York University during the mid-1980s. During the late 1980s Kane held a University Fellowship at Yale in the doctoral program and then went on to be a professor of English at Vassar College. He is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial fellowships.
Kane has a special interest in Australian literature and has held the postions of President of the American Association of Australian Literary Studies and Poetry Editor of the association's journal, Antipodes. He has visited Australia on a number of occasions and has been guest speaker at several literary functions. He has been artistic director of the Mildura Writers' Festival.
Kane's poetry, reviews and literary criticism have been published in several American and Australian journals and he has written and edited poetry collections.