John Welch was born in London in 1942. He read Modern languages at Cambridge and has taught in France, Pakistan and for many years in East London schools. He edited Stories from South Asia, an anthology for school and college use, published by Oxford University Press in 1984. In 1976, he founded The Many Press, which published the work of a wide range of contemporary poets including Amarjit Chandan's pamphlet collection Being Here.
His own Collected Poems appeared from Shearsman in 2008, since when they have published two further collections: Visiting Exile in 2009, and Its Halting Measure in 2012.
As a translator, he has worked with Amarjit Chandan for many years, and also with the London-based Iraqi poet Abdulkareem Kasid whose collection Sarabad (Shearsman, 2015) he co-translated.