Christopher Cokinos

Associate Professor, Department of English

Christopher Cokinos is the director of the Creative Writing MFA program at the University of Arizona, and author of the literary nonfiction books The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars and Hope Is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds, both from Tarcher/Penguin, as well as Bodies, of the Holocene, a lyric prose collection in Truman State University Press’s Contemporary Nonfiction Series. His poetry chapbook, Held as Earth, is out from Finishing Line Press. With Eric Magrane, he has co-edited an anthology of contemporary nature writing called A Literary Field Guide to the Sonoran Desert, forthcoming from Arizona in 2016. His work has been praised or featured in such venues as The Chicago Tribune, Mid-American Review, The Boston Globe, The New Yorker, Nature, Science, Natural History, All Things Considered, and People magazine. His poems, aphorisms, reviews, criticism, microfiction, and essays have appeared in december, Western Humanities Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, Poetry, Pank, Hotel Amerika, The Volta, High Desert Journal, Extrapolation, Science, Orion,, The New York Times, and The American Scholar, among many other venues. Cokinos contributes essays semi-regularly to High Country News and the Los Angeles Times. He is the winner of a Whiting Award, the Fine-Line Prize for Lyric Prose, the Glasgow Prize, an American Antiquarian Society Artists Fellowship, the John Burroughs Prize for Best Nature Essay (in 2007), a National Science Foundation Antarctic Visiting Artist and Writer Fellowship and the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award. He’s been a semi-finalist for the Saroyan Prize and a finalist for the Utah Book Award. His research has taken him from a rocket-engine test to a stint as a crew journalist at the Mars Desert Research Station, from 600 miles north of the Arctic Circle to the South Pole. He founded and edited Isotope: A Journal of Literary Nature & Science Writing at Utah State University until it was closed for budgetary reasons. The magazine won grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Current projects include “Sweet Lesion,” a poetry manuscript in circulation; “Keepsake & Egress,” a new poetry collection; and “Recivilization: Six Heresies to Keep a Planet Running,” an essay collection on massive technological approaches to contemporary environmental conditions. At the University of Arizona, he is a Udall Center Environmental Policy Fellow, Affiliated Faculty with the Institute of the Environment and an Associate Professor of English. Cokinos divides his time between Tucson and Logan Canyon, Utah.


  • MFA, Writing, Washington University in St. Louis, 1991