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Christopher Cokinos was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1963, and lived there until he attended Indiana University, where he received an English bachelor’s degree with a journalism minor. He went on to complete an MFA in Writing, on a University Fellowship, at Washington University in St. Louis. For a time he edited Research & Creative Activity at Indiana University and he would later found and edit Isotope: A Journal of Literary Nature and Science Writing at Utah State University. He taught at USU from 2002 to 2011, having previously worked as an editor and teacher at Kansas State University. He left USU to take a position at the University of Arizona, where he is an Associate Professor of English, Affiliated Faculty with the Institute of the Environment and the longest-serving mentor with the Carson Scholars program in science communication. He still considers Utah his home.
Not long after relocating to Tucson, Cokinos, with his wife the writer Kathe Lison, bought a nearly century-old log cabin in Logan Canyon, where they spend as much time as possible. While at USU, they lived on four acres along the Blacksmith Fork River in southern Cache Valley. They are deeply connected to the landscapes of Utah, and Cokinos’s current nonfiction project—a multi-valent look at the Moon—includes meditations on wilderness and the sublime as encountered in such places as the High Uintas and the Bear River Range of the northern Wasatch.
He has a telescope in Tucson and another in L