Gary L. McDowell was born and raised in suburban Chicago. He earned a BA in English from Northern Illinois University, an MFA in Poetry from Bowling Green State University, and a Ph.D. in Contemporary Poetics and American Literature from Western Michigan University. He is the author of Weeping at a Stranger's Funeral (Dream Horse Press, 2014); American Amen (Dream Horse Press, 2010), winner of the 2009 Orphic Prize in Poetry; They Speak of Fruit (Cooper Dillon, 2009), and The Blueprint (Pudding House, 2005). He’s the co-editor, with F. Daniel Rzicznek, of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice (Rose Metal Press, 2010). His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in journals such as American Poetry Review, The Nation, Green Mountains Review, Bellingham Review, Colorado Review, Indiana Review, Mid-American Review, New England Review, Ninth Letter, Prairie Schooner, and Quarterly West, among others. He’s won awards from Prairie Schooner, Green Mountains Review, (the 2014 Neil Shepard Prize in Creative Nonfiction), National Poetry Review, Minnetonka Review, The Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation, Dream Horse Press, and others. He lives just outside Nashville, TN with his family and is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Belmont University.