Cummins, Deborah ( - )

Genre: Non-Fiction, Poetry, Short Stories

Born and raised in Chicago, Deborah Cummins earned a B.A. in English at Northern Illinois University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Houston.

She has taught writing at the University of Chicago, Columbia College, the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University, and Chicago’s Newberry Library and Terra Museum of American Art. She has been a visiting writer at Lyon College, University of Nebraska at Kearney, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Working with high school and elementary students, she has served as an Arts-in-Education Residency Artist for the Illinois Arts Council , a Writer-in-Residence at the Menil Art Collection and a writing instructor in various Chicago area public schools and with Writers in the Schools in Houston. For three years, she was the assistant director of the White River Writers’ Workshop at Lyon College in Arkansas. Currently, she curates poetry events for Opera House Arts in Stonington, Maine.

Deborah Cummins is the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships and prizes, including several from the Illinois Arts Council and a James Michener Fellowship. She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, Ragdale Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Her poems and essays have appeared in eight anthologies and more than sixty journals and magazines. Her poetry has also been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry syndicated newspaper column and on the Poetry Daily and Verse Daily web sites. She has given numerous public readings in a variety of venues, including book stores, libraries, conferences, festivals, galleries, and in lecture and reading series. She has also been interviewed on radio shows in Chicago and Kansas City.

Until recently she was a board member of the Poetry Foundation and served as its Board Chair from 1001-2005 as the Foundation transitioned from a small 501C3 non-profit to an operating foundation following an historic bequest by the late Lily pharmaceutical heiress and philanthropist Ruth Lilly.

Deborah Cummins and her husband reside in Chicago, IL and Deer Isle, ME.

Selected Bibliography

  • Beyond the Reach (Poems) (2002)
  • Counting the Waves (Poems) (2006)
  • Here and Away: Discovering Home on an Island in Maine (essay collection)(2012) Winner, 2013 Maine Literary Awards Short Works Competition: Nonfiction