Grace Bauer was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and has lived in New Orleans, Montana, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Nebraska. She worked as a waitress, a telephone solicitor, an insurance clerk, a census processor, a barmaid, and a librarian’s assistant, before earning her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts—Amherst and beginning a thirty-year career as an award-winning teacher of Creative Writing, Literature, and Women’s Studies.
As a writer, she has long been known for the variety of her subject matter(s) and poetic styles—ranging from ekphrastic poetry to persona poems, narrative poems to lyrics, and free verse to fixed forms. She has published six books, including Unholy Heart: New and Selected Poems (Backwaters Press/University of Nebraska, 2021), MEAN/TIME (University of New Mexico Press, 2017), The Women At the Well (Portals Press, 1996; 20th Anniversary Re-issue, Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2016), Nowhere All At Once (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2014), Retreats & Recognitions (Lost Horse Press, 2007), and Beholding Eye (CustomWords, 2006), as well as four chapbooks. With Julie Kane she co-edited the anthologies Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse and Umpteen Ways of Looking at a Possum: Critical & Creative Responses to Everette Maddox. She also guest edited a special Baby Boomer issue of the journal Prairie Schooner (Fall 2009), which was cited as a Notable Special Issue in Best American Essays.
Bauer’s poems, essays, and stories have appeared in Arts & Letters, Ascent, Atlanta Review, Bat City Review, Brilliant Corners, Cimarron Review, Colorado Review, Doubletake, Fairy Tale Review, Georgia Review, Georgetown Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hotel Amerika, Hiram Poetry Review, Laurel Review, Los Angeles Review, Measure, Midwest Quarterly, North American Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Palo Alto Review, Paterson Literary Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Puerto Del Sol Rattle, Storm Cellar, Terrain, Tin House, Whale Road Review, and many other journals, plus over fifty anthologies.
Her awards for poetry include an Academy of American Poets Prize, Individual Artists Fellowships from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the Nebraska Arts Council, the Idaho Poetry Prize, the Society of Midland Authors’ Book of the Year Award, a Poets’ Prize nomination, as well as Residencies at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. In 2019, she was one of three finalists for the position of Nebraska State Poet.
Her awards for teaching include an Aaron Douglas Distinguished Professorship, a College of Arts & Sciences Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Education, the Annis Chaiken Sorenson Award for Distinguished Teaching in the Humanities, and several Certificates of Recognition for Contributions to Students—all from the University of Nebraska.
She is currently the Aaron Douglas Professor Emerita from the University of Nebraska and continues to facilitate poetry workshops and manuscript consultations.