I was born in Chicago but I've lived beside a lake in Minneapolis, on a sleepy street in Indiana, in a rural mountain village in Washington, across from a Mattress Mart in California, upon the side of a volcano in Ecuador, near the coupling of train cars in Montana, and between the dusty walls of a farmhouse in Iowa. Now I live in Northfield, Minnesota where the en-enactment of a bank raid each year is softened with the scent of chocolate breakfast cereal cooking in the Malt O Meal factory down the road.
I studied creative writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Montana and earned a BA from Gustavus Adolphus College. I currently teach composition and creative writing at St. Olaf College.
I'm the author of Tailings: A Memoir and the co-editor of Claiming Our Callings: Toward a New Understanding of Vocation in the Liberal Arts. My poems and prose can be found in journals such as Crazyhorse, Pleiades, jubilat, Witness, Minnesota Review and the anthology Fiction on a Stick. I've been the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, a Loft Mentor Series Award, the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and a Best of the Net Anthology award.
Sometime in the summer of 2014 a poem of mine will be printed on a sidewalk square in the town where I live. This means that lots of people will be able to read my words or ignore them, decorate them with sidewalk chalk or spill Leinenkugel's into their very crevices. This makes me happy. I think writing belongs in the messy middle of our lives, making us stranger and stronger, word by word.