I grew up in rust belt Pennsylvania, a paradoxical place of farmlands and factories, mountains and strip mines. My twin brother and I were first-generation college, and I graduated from Smith College and Stanford Law School. After several decades in Northern California spent raising children and advocating for students with learning challenges, I left law to pursue writing, earning an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson in 2010.
My seventh book of poetry, ONLY, is forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2022. The Unexploded Ordnance Bin won the Swan Scythe Poetry Chapbook Award. A book of sonnets, Paradise Drive, won the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry and was reviewed in the Times Literary Supplement, Georgia Review, Harvard Review, Hudson Review, and others. All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song won the Many Mountains Moving Book Prize in 2010, the same year a collaboration with artist Lorna Stevens, God, Seed: Poetry & Art About the Natural World, won the Foreword Book of the Year Award for Poetry. Mom’s Canoe and Dark Card, consecutive recipients of the Robert Phillips Chapbook Poetry Prize, were released by Texas Review Press in 2008 and 2009.
My poems, book reviews, essays, and short stories are widely published in journals and also anthologies including Healing the Divide: Poems of Kinship and Connection (Green Writers Press 2019); How Lovely the Ruins, Foreword by Elizabeth Alexander (Spiegel & Grau 2017); Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing (Pearson 2015); and Literature, A Pocket Anthology (Penguin 2011).
Recognitions include the 2019 Pablo Neruda Award (judged by Kaveh Akbar), the 2018 CP Cavafy Award, the 2015 James Hearst Poetry Prize (Jane Hirshfield), American Literary Review’s 2015 Fiction Prize (Garth Greenwell), and the 2015 Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize. I’ve been fortunate to receive fellowships from the Frost Place, Hedgebrook, MacDowell, Sewanee, and the Westchester Poetry Conference and, in 2017, appointment as Marin County Poet Laureate where my “Poetry as Sanctuary” project featured events with immigrant readers.
My work includes teaching, most recently for the 2020 Frost Place Poetry Seminar, and event organizing–the popular Poetry World Series co-founded with Melissa Stein has been drawing large audiences for 10 years at SF Litquake, Brooklyn Book Festival, and other venues. I also co-produce a local TV show (Rising Voices), volunteer on the board of Marin Poetry Center, and read fiction for Narrative Magazine. Since 2014, I’ve been the poetry editor Women’s Voices for Change, writing a weekly column that emphasizes diversity and the poetry of women over 40.