After changing majors every semester, Rita Mae Reese dropped out of college and went to work for a lesbian press. After working there for nearly seven years, a visiting author inspired her to go back to school full-time. She earned a BA in American Studies and an MA in Creative Writing at Florida State University and then an MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While pursuing her MFA, she worked at the Dictionary of American Regional English and immersed herself in the online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary where she began to find poetry in etymology. She began writing many of the poems that eventually formed The Alphabet Conspiracy.
Rita Mae has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, a Stegner fellowship, and a ‘Discovery’/The Nation award. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in journals and anthologies including The Normal School, Imaginative Writing, From Where You Dream, Blackbird, New England Review, The Southern Review, and The Nation.
She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her family.