Peggy ShumakerAbout Peggy









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Brief bio:

Peggy Shumaker is the Rasmuson Foundation's Distinguished Artist for 2014. She is also the Artsmith Artist of the Year for 2014.  She is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Toucan Nest, Poems of Costa Rica.  Her lyrical memoir is Just Breathe Normally. Professor emerita from University of Alaska Fairbanks, Shumaker teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop. She is founding editor of Boreal Books, publisher of fine art and literature from Alaska.  She edits the Alaska Literary Series at University of Alaska Press.  Peggy Shumaker was Alaska State Writer Laureate for 2010-2012.


Born in La Mesa, California, Peggy Shumaker grew up in Tucson, Arizona. She earned her B.A. in English and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. Shumaker was writer in residence for the Arizona Commission on the Arts, working with prison inmates, honors students, gang members, deaf adults, teen parents, little kids, library patrons, and elderly folks. She has given readings in art galleries, a governor's mansion, a clearing in the woods, an abandoned bank, on reservations, in libraries, at a gold dredge, under the hoodoos at Bryce Canyon, on a riverboat, and at many bookstores, community centers, and universities.

Peggy's poems have been published in Russia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England, and throughout the United States. Her nonfiction has appeared in Short Takes: Brief Encounters with Contemporary Nonfiction (Norton), A Road of Her Own (Fulcrum), Under Northern Lights (U. Washington Press), A Year in Place (U. Utah Press), Prairie Schooner, Brevity, and Ascent.

In 2008, Peggy founded Boreal Books, an imprint of Red Hen Press, to publish literature and fine art from Alaska.

As part of her service as Alaska State Writer Laureate, Peggy is editing the Alaska Literary Series.  The first three titles were published in spring 2012.   Three more titles have been released in 2013.

Shumaker was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. She has served as poet-in residence at the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell and as the president of the board of directors of AWP. Professor emerita from University of Alaska Fairbanks, Shumaker teaches in the low-residency MFA Rainier Writing Workshop and at many writing conferences and festivals.

Please feel free to contact her at  .