Writer; storyteller; college teacher of creative writing.  Born in Vernon, Ala.; moved to Nebraska at the age of eight.  Education:  University of Nebraska-Lincoln, B.S., 1978; University of Iowa, M.L.S., 1980. Worked as a librarian in the 1980′s; Coordinator of Youth Services for the Champaign Public Library, 1990-2007.  Has taught in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign since 2007.  Has received many awards for her books:  Awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for Poetry in 2007 and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award in 2009. Received the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize from BOA Editions and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.  2008 Alabama Author of the Year for Children’s Books.


Something about the Author; University of Illinois website.


Busy-busy Little Chick.  New York:  Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2013.

The Chicken Chasing Queen of Lamar County.  BOA Editions, 2007.

Even the Hollow My Body Made Is Gone. BOA editions, 2007.

Finding a StoryFish.  WordSong, 2016.

Going North. Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2004.

The Hands of Strangers:  Poems from the Nursing Home. BOA editions, 2011.

Primitive:  The Art and Life of Horace E. Pippin.  BOA, 2016.

Roberto Walks Home.  New York:  Viking/Penguin, 2008.