Coles is the author of several collections of poetry, including Fault (2008), Utah Book Award winner The Golden Years of the Fourth Dimension (2001), and The One Right Touch (1992). She is also the author of the novels Fire Season (2005) and The Measurable World (1995). Her collaboration with visual artist Maureen O’Hara has led to the artists’ book Swoon (2003) as well as several installations. As the inaugural director of the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute, Coles edited the anthology Blueprints: Bringing Poetry into Communities (2011) and the reports Poetry & New Media: A Users’ Guide and Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Poetry.
Coles has received numerous honors for her work, including a term as Utah’s poet laureate, both a fellowship and a New Forms Project grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a PEN New Writer’s Award, an Antarctic Artists and Writers Grant from the National Science Foundation, and grants from the Utah Arts Council and the Salt Lake City Arts Council.
At the University of Utah, Coles has directed the Creative Writing Program; co-directed the Utah Symposium in Science and Literature, with mathematician and biologist Fred Alder; and served as series editor for the University of Utah Press’s Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Book Award. She lives in Salt Lake City.