Born and raised in Chicago, poet and essayist Deborah Cummins earned a BA at Northern Illinois University and an MFA at the University of Houston.
In her musical, spare poems, Cummins engages natural and human cycles. She is author of the essay collection Here and Away: Discovering Home on an Island in Maine (2012) as well as the poetry collections Counting the Waves (2006) and Beyond the Reach (2002). Her poetry has been featured in Ted Kooser’s syndicated newspaper column “American Life in Poetry” and on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac as well as in the anthologies The Poets Guide to the Birds (2009) and When She Named Fire: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry by American Women (2008).
Cummins’s honors include literary awards from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, a Headwaters Literary Prize, a James Michener fellowship, and several fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council. She has received residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Cummins has taught at the University of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and she served on the board of the Poetry Foundation and the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. She curates poetry events for Opera House Arts in Stonington, Maine, and divides her time between Portland and Deer Isle.