Bruce Weigle was born on 27 January, 1949 in Lorain, Ohio. He enlisted in the US Army shortly after his 18th birthday and spent three years in the service, serving in Vietnam from December 1967 to December 1968. He received the Bronze Star.

On returning to the US Weigl studied at Oberlin College and the University of New Hampshire and received a Ph.D. from the University of Utah in 1979. His first full-length collection of poems – A Romance – was published in 1979. In the following decades he published several more collections of poetry. Many of his poems are inspired by the time he spent in the Army and Vietnam: in his book The Circle of Hanh: A Memoir (2000) he writes

The war took away my life and gave me poetry in return .. the fate the world has given me is to struggle to write powerfully enough to draw others into the horror.

In 1986 he returned to Vietnam, a visit of of which he says

Vietnam was a war, as far as I was concerned. With that trip it became a country. … It was a huge turn in my life.

Weigle also worked with Thanh T. Nguyen to translate poems of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers captured during the war, published as Poems from Captured Documents (University of Massachusetts Press, 1994).