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BESS COOLEY was raised close to Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she grew up taking long road trips over flat horizons. She earned a BA from Knox College and MFA from Purdue University, where she was managing editor of Sycamore Review. She's also lived in Minnesota and Scotland, and currently resides in Knoxville, Tennessee.


Cooley won the 2017 Mississippi Review Poetry Prize, and her work has also appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Journal, Verse Daily, PRISM, Midway Journal, Ruminate, Columbia Poetry Review, Breakwater Review, Toad, and Forklift, Ohio, among other journals. Her book reviews can be found online at Sycamore Review, Electric Literature, and Kenyon Review. She teaches at the University of Tennessee, where she is also managing editor of online content for Grist, an editorial reader at Spry, and co-founding editor of Peatsmoke.

Photo credit: Sarah McEneany