Gillian Conoley was born on March 29, 1955, in Taylor, Texas, a rural town about thirty miles outside of Austin where her parents owned and operated a radio station. She earned her BFA in journalism at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, before earning her MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Conoley is the author of seven poetry collections, the most recent of which is Peace (Omnidawn Publishing, 2014), a work that Yusef Komunyakaa said “encompasses the wholeness of a world vision, where the experimental converges with the lyrical narrative—past, present, and future—to unveil those hidden moments surrounding us, as well as the accentuated ones.” Her other poetry books include The Plot Genie (Omnidawn Publishing, 2009); Profane Halo (Wave Books, 2005); and Lovers in the Used World (Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 2001).
Poet Kathleen Fraser writes, “Gillian Conoley’s poems at once saturate and aerate the imagination with extraordinarily lush tropics of language. Her sensibility moves along the erotic path of the physical world with an eye trained to catch every uncertainty, while celebrating the body’s powerful claims.”
She is also the translator of Thousand Times Broken: Three Books by Henri Michaux (City Lights, 2014), never before translated into English.
Conoley is the recipient of a Fund for Poetry Award, the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize from The American Poetry Review, and a National Endowment for the Arts grant.
She has taught at the University of Denver, University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Texas State University, Tulane University, and Vermont College. She is currently a professor and poet-in-residence at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, where she is the founder and editor of VOLT. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.