I would have wanted to be a writer when I was a child if I had known it was possible. When I could only read two words: "you" and "I," I went through a wholebook and circled them. I knew reading was the key to the rest of the world. I wrote my first mystery when I was in sixth grade—it was about a mysterious trail around a pond. I continue to write about mysterious trails around Lake Pepin in my Claire Watkins mystery series. Some things never change.
Poetry, however, is the foundation of my work. I have written four books of poetry, my latest is Hand Work, which came out in 2009. This book was the result of an experiment to write a poem a day for a year. I have also published a young adult novel, Dancing with an Alien, and the Bloodwater mysteries with Pete Hautman. My non-fiction books include a biography of my grandmother, Halfway Home, and a book on Minnesota courthouses, both published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press.
I was an editor at the Village Voice, Graywolf Press, and The Creative Company. I've published articles in the Village Voice, the New York Times and the Hungry Mind Review. For many years I taught at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. Currently, I'm on faculty in the low-residency Children's Literature MFA program at Hamline University in St. Paul.
I am bi-riverbank, living on both sides of the Mississippi, with writer Pete Hautman in Minnesota and Wisconsin. And Rene and Jacques, our toy poodles.