Mary Cornish was born in 1948 and graduated from the MFA program in poetry at Sarah Lawrence College, though she initially enrolled in the creative nonfiction writing program. She is also a former Wallace Stegner Fellow.
Cornish published the poetry collection Red Studio (Oberlin College Press, 2006), which won the press’s 2006 FIELD Poetry Prize. Marie Howe described the collection as follows: “As the painters once used the broken yolks of eggs, the rocks, and the earth itself to make their colors, so Mary Cornish has made these miraculous poems: so intelligently wrought the page disappears, so gorgeous I stand and stare. At the core of each is human life, fiercely known and loved and endured. These are the poems of a radiantly alive adult woman.”
Cornish currently teaches at Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies, where she is an instructor in creative writing and serves as faculty advisor for InkSpeak, the college’s annual arts and literary magazine.
Cornish lives in Bellingham, Washington.