Ruth Ellen Kocher

Ruth Ellen Kocher was born and raised in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She received a BA from Pennsylvania State University and an MFA and a PhD from Arizona State University.

Kocher is the author of several poetry collections, including godhouse (Omnidawn Press, 2023); Third Voice (Tupelo Press, 2016); domina Un/blued (Tupelo Press, 2013), winner of the PEN Open Book Award and the Dorset Prize; and Desdemona’s Fire (Lotus Press, 1999), winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Award for African American Poets.

Of Kocher’s work, Bruce Weigl writes, “At the heart of these stunning poems is a precise and imaginative examination of the thin line that separates beauty and terror, wisdom and madness, tolerance and hatred.”

Kocher has received fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Colorado–Boulder, where she teaches Poetry, Poetics, and Literature. Kocher was the Guest Editor for Poem-a-Day in August 2019, and lives in Colorado.