I spent nineteen years in Normal, Illinois before taking a one-way train to Los Angeles, California and stayed in southern California thirteen years. Straight away I became involved in poetry and founded Out Loud: A Monthly of Los Angeles Poetry Events, which I edited from 1988 to 1993 with the resourceful and patient Chris Schendel. I began my undergraduate education by taking night classes at Santa Monica College for four years before transferring to UCLA to obtain my BA in English. There I had the great pleasure of working with poets Heather McHugh and Stephen Yenser, who both proved encouraging and challenging.
In 1995 I moved down to Orange County and pursued a MFA in creative writing at the University of California, Irvine, and still feeling hungry for more education, I completed my PhD in English there as well. I managed to obtain a grant from the university to fund "Making Strange: The Linguistic Innovations of Four California Poets" and brought Rae Armantrout, Michael Davidson, Martha Ronk and Diane Ward to campus in 1999-2000.
Unexpectedly I finished the work on my PhD in London, where I moved in 2001, just a few weeks before the Twin Towers' bombing.
In 1998, as a PhD student at Irvine, I published my first proper chapbook, Subterfuge for the Unrequitable, with Potes & Poets. I'm still surprised by the generosity of Ron Silliman and Cole Swensen, providing blurbs for an unknown poet. After 1998 I didn't find much time for poetry until beginning my fellowship time in England in 2001. On finishing in 2003, I taught part-time at the University of Hertfordshire for a year before beginning at Bath Spa University as a permanent faculty member in 2004.
I brought out my first collection of poems, The Tethers (Seren, 2009), at the age of forty. It won the London New Poetry Award the only year it ran. In 2010, Shearsman Books brought out the anthology I edited, Infinite Difference: Other Poetries by UK Women Poets, and in 2011 my second collection, Divining for Starters. In 2014, Seren published my third collection, Imagined Sons, shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry by The Poetry Society, and in 2015, Mulfran Press brought out Linda Lamus's posthumous A Crater the Size of Calcutta, which I edited.
In 2018 I brought out my fourth collection of poetry in both the UK and US, The Weather in Normal, exploring the many losses of home from my parents' deaths to the effects of climate change on my home state of Illinois and the Midwest more generally.