Irene McKinney is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and two West Virginia Commission on the Arts Fellowships in Poetry. She is the author of five books of poetry: The Girl with a Stone in Her Lap (North Atlantic 1976); The Wasps at the Blue Hexagons (Chapbook, Small Plot Press 1984); Quick Fire and Slow Fire (North Atlantic 1988); Six O'Clock Mine Report (University of Pittsburgh Press 1989), and Vivid Companion (West Virginia University Press 2005). She edited the anthology Backcountry: Contemporary Writing in West Virginia (West Virginia University Press, 2002), and has held fellowships at McDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Blue Mountain Center. She was appointed Poet Laureate of West Virginia in 1994. Recent poems have appeared in American Voice, Artful Dodge, Arts & Letters, Kenyon Review, Confluence, South Dakota Review, Kestrel, Poetry Northwest, Clackamas Literary Review, Georgia Review, Washington Square, Shenandoah, Southern Poetry Review, and others. She has been writer-in- residence at Western Washington University at Bellingham, the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque, University of California at Santa Cruz, and Hamilton College. She does a weekly commentary on National Public Radio. Her poems have been featured three times on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac and on Verse Daily. She is professor emerita of West Virginia Wesleyan College.