Alison Hawthorne Deming was born and grew up in Connecticut. Recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim fellowship, her most recent books are Stairway to Heaven published by Penguin Poets in 2016 and Death Valley: Painted Light, a collaboration with photographer Stephen Strom published by George F. Thomson. The collection of essays Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit was published by Milkweed Editions in 2014. She is the author of Science and Other Poems (LSU Press, 1994), winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets; The Monarchs: A Poem Sequence (LSU, 1997), Genius Loci (Penguin Poets, 2005), and Rope (Penguin Poets, 2009); and three additional nonfiction books, Temporary Homelands (Mercury House, 1994; Picador USA, 1996), The Edges of the Civilized World (Picador USA, 1998), finalist for the PEN Center West Award, and Writing the Sacred Into the Real (Milkweed, Credo Series). She edited Poetry of the American West: A Columbia Anthology (Columbia University Press, 1996) and co-edited with Lauret E. Savoy The Colors of Nature: Essays on Culture, Identity, and the Natural World (Milkweed, 2002; revised and expanded edition, 2011). Deming’s small press works include two limited edition chapbooks, Girls in the Jungle: What Does It Take For a Woman to Survive in the Arts (Kore Press, 1995) and Anatomy of Desire: The Daughter/Mother Sessions (Kore, 2000), a collaboration with her daughter, the artist Lucinda Bliss. Two new books of poetry will be out in 2016, Stairway to Heaven (Penguin) and Death Valley: Painted Light, a collaboration with photographer/astronomer Stephen Strom (George F. Thompson).
Deming received an MFA from Vermont College, a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, two poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Tucson/Pima Arts Council, and a National Writer’s Voice Residency Award. Her work has been awarded the Pablo Neruda Prize from Nimrod, a Pushcart Prize, the Gertrude B. Claytor Award from the Poetry Society of America, the Best Essay Gold Award from the GAMMA Southeastern Magazine Association, and the Bayer Award in Science Writing from Creative Nonfiction for the essay “Poetry and Science: A View From the Divide.” She has held residencies at Yaddo, Cummington Community of the Arts, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Mesa Refuge, The Island Institute in Alaska, Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, The Hermitage Artist Retreat and the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon. She has served on the faculty of the Prague Summer Program, Taos Summer Writer’s Conference, University of Montana’s Environmental Writing Institute, Indiana University Writers’ Conference, Wildbranch Writing Workshop, Writers at Work and the Bread Loaf/Orion Environmental Writing Workshop, among many other venues. Working with the Language of Conservation Project sponsored by Poets House, Deming curated the poetry installation at the Jacksonville (FL) Zoo and Gardens. Her writing has been widely published and anthologized, including in Ecotone, Prairie Schooner, The Georgia Review, Orion, OnEarth, Southwestern American Literature, Parthenon West, Western Humanities Review, Sierra, Gnosis, Cutthroat, American Poetry Review, Eleven Eleven, Terrain.org, Verse and Universe: Poems on Science and Mathematics, The Norton Book of Nature Writing, and Best American Science and Nature Writing. Former Director of the University of Arizona Poetry Center (1990-2002), she currently is Agnese Nelms Haury Chair of Environment and Social Justice and Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Arizona. She lives in Tucson, Arizona and Grand Manan, New Brunswick, Canada.