Even as a little kid in New Jersey I found many things in the world so fascinating and mysterious that I always had the urge to “tell people about it”—a need that began to be soothed as soon as I learned how to put words together and write them down. I was a quiet child, but loud on paper.
Toward the end of high school, I won a national teen poetry contest. Then on to college, where I was told by an administrator that I couldn’t enroll in a creative writing course until junior year. I enrolled anyway, and no one said a thing. That course, that professor, propelled me into serious poetry writing—I was hooked for life. That life would include a poem that won me a Caribbean cruise for four shortly after college graduation, one of the silliest and most eye-opening experiences I’d had in my young life.
I had always wanted to move to Massachusetts, and eventually I did. I was lucky enough to secure a two-year fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, my first experience living in the midst of a dedicated group of writers and artists. Heaven. Those two years, and a third year spent working in the town, provided me with rich material for my new book, The Bayrose Files.
After that I pursued my MFA at the University of Massachusetts, where one of my poetry idols, James Tate, was teaching. The program was everything I’d hoped, featuring not only Tate, but frequent visiting writers. My jobs after grad school included English professor, academic dean at an art college, and in-house writer for a national animal welfare organization. I also, of course continued to write poetry, publishing more than two hundred poems in literary magazines, and winning the Grolier Poetry Prize, The Denny Award, The Open Voice Award, the Green Lake Chapbook Award, and the Anne Halley Award. I also received a grant from the Massachusetts Council on the Arts.
My four full-length poetry books are Lucid Suitcase, The Yellow Hotel, Wonderbender, and, most recently, The Warhol Pillows. In addition, I’ve published five chapbooks.
And then, a few years ago, wonder of wonders, I decided to try my hand at fiction. I had some long stories I wanted to tell! My novella Gillyflower was published in 2019 and won first place in the novella category from the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, first place in the Novella category from American Book Fest, and first place in Novella from International Book Awards.
My novel My Famous Brain was published in 2021, and won first place in Visionary Fiction from the New York City Big Books Awards, and first place in Visionary Fiction, New Adult Fiction, and Speculative Fiction from the Firebird Book Awards. It was also the Foreword Indies Bronze winner in General Fiction.
Over the years I’ve come to realize that what drives me to write anything is the need to make sense of things I’ve experienced or imagined, especially crises of conscience, interpersonal relationships, and what might be described as not so much extrasensory but extra-ordinary experiences.
Writing keeps me alive. I don’t know what’s next, but I can’t wait to start writing it.
Regal House Publishing is delighted to bring you The Bayrose Files in the summer of 2025.