was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up there and in rural Kentucky, the second of seven children of a homemaker and an airplane mechanic.
"My mother came from a large, close-knit Polish-American family, and my father's people -- always very secretive and mysterious -- came from a place I only ever heard identified as "the Carpathians."
I attended Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, and earned degrees in English and Theater Arts before moving to Los Angeles in 1979. From 1986 until 2006, I supported myself as a free-lance teacher of poetry and creative writing, leading workshops for children and young people in public schools, as well as workshops for teachers, professional writers, participants in Elderhostel programs for senior citizens, inmates at a prison for the criminally insane, and residents of a shelter for homeless women. During that time, I also spent several months each year "on the road" in Europe; I've been visiting Poland, and particularly the area of the Carpathians where my paternal grandmother was born, regularly since the mid-1990's.
I've published three books of poems: Sacrifice (Cahuenga Press, 1997); Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem; (Cahuenga Press, 2002) and Late (BOA Editions, 2003). A chapbook, "Narcissus" will be published by Tupelo Press in 2007. I'm currently a lecturer in the creative writing program at the University of Southern California as well as a member of the core faculty of the low-residency MFA Program in Professional Writing at Western Connecticut State University, and I'm the founding director of Summer Poetry in Idyllwild and of The Paris Poetry Workshop.
Though my "base" is in Los Angeles,
I continue to travel as much as possible, and feel most at home in Paris and in the Carpathians.