Brenda Cárdenas was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She received a BA from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 1987 and an MFA from the University of Michigan in 1995. She is the author several chapbooks, two edited anthologies, and the full-length collection Boomerang (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2009). Cárdenas served as the Milwaukee poet laureate from 2010 to 2012. In 2014, the Library of Congress recorded a reading of her work for their Spotlight on U.S. Hispanic Writers. She currently teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.