Ken McCullough was born in Staten Island, N.Y., but spent his formative years in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He considers the mountains of Montana and Wyoming to be his spiritual home, and now draws inspiration from the land and people around Winona, Minnesota where he has lived since 1996. He also has roots in Mississippi. In 1992 he was adopted into the Miniconjou band of the Lakota Nation. He is a graduate of St. Andrew’s School, in Delaware, the setting for Dead Poets Society, and has degrees from the University of Delaware and the Writers’ Workshop of the University of Iowa. McCullough’s most recent books of poetry are Walking Backwards, Sicomoro.Oropéndola (a Spanish translation published in Colombia), and Broken Gates (Red Dragonfly Press), and a book of stories, Left Hand.
He has received numerous awards for his poetry including the Academy of American Poets Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Pablo Neruda Award, a Galway Kinnell Poetry Prize, the New Millennium Poetry Award, the Blue Light Book Award and the Capricorn Book Award. McCullough has worked closely with Cambodian poet U Sam Oeur, survivor of the Pol Pot regime, and together they have published a bilingual edition of U’s poetry, Sacred Vows, and a memoir, Crossing Three Wildernesses.
McCullough has taught at Montana State University, the University of Iowa, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, Viterbo University, UW-LaCrosse and Winona State University, as well the poetry-in-the-schools programs in Montana and Iowa. He lives in Winona with his wife, playwright Lynn Nankivil. He has two sons, Galway, an actor and fight choreographer, and Orion, a student at the University of Iowa. McCullough will begin his second term as Poet Laureate of Winona in September 2014.