Nurkse is the son of the eminent economist Ragnar Nurkse. He has taught workshops at Rikers Island, and his poems about prison life appeared in The American Poetry Review, Evergreen Review, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, TriQuarterly, The Kenyon Review, and other magazines. He has taught at The New School University and Columbia University, and is currently on the faculty at Sarah Lawrence College. He has translated anonymous medieval and flamenco Spanish lyric poems and has written about the Spanish pastoral poems by contemporary Giannina Braschi. His work has appeared in The Evergreen Review, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, The Times Literary Supplement, Ploughshares, The Paris Review.