Joe Wilkins was born and raised north of the Bull Mountains of eastern
Montana. He lives with his wife and son on the north Iowa prairie, where he
teaches writing at Waldorf College. His poems, essays, and stories appear
in the Georgia Review, the Southern Review, the Missouri Review,
Mid-American Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Orion,
and Slate. His work has won numerous awards and honors,
including multiple Pushcart Prize nominations, notable mention in Best
American Essays, the Obsidian Prize for Nonfiction Writing about the
American West, the 2008 Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers, and
Boulevard Magazine’s Emerging Poets Contest.
Joe Wilkins' memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers, was published by
Counterpoint Press in 2012. You can order it from your local bookstore or online
"Joe Wilkins writes his truths straight from the broken heart of a broken land.
When I read his personal stories, so lyrically and wondrously imagined, I feel a
beautiful and sometimes terrifying emotion rise up in me--mythic, redemptive,
and sustaining. If you want to read what matters, read this." --Kim Barnes,
author of "In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country"
"Joe Wilkins' sketches of life in Montana's Big Dry country, north of Billings
and halfway to nowhere, are filled with a potent combination of loving poetry
and bitter nostalgia. You can smell the sage and wild onions and feel how this
land apart forms and twists those who live there, and sometimes kills them.
Wilkins' search for his father--and for himself--takes its own twist: the Big
Dry may care nothing for pilgrims and father seekers, but it marks its own as
surely as a father marks a son." --John N. Maclean
"Joe Wilkins grew up on the enormous plains of eastern Montana. He found plenty
to respect and revere and plenty to escape. And he learned the stories and how
to tell them. "The Mountain and the Fathers" is vivid and compelling. We're
reading it in Montana in order to understand ourselves. And for the pure
pleasure we find in the storytelling." --William Kittredge
"Joe Wilkins grew up hard in the middle of nowhere--the bent-back, make-do world
of the driest, loneliest country in all Montana--and after reading this memoir
about the West, about myth, about manhood, about grief and transcendence, I felt
at once heartbroken and hopeful and ultimately awed by his ability to twist
sentences like barbed wire, his voice wondrously rich with dirt-and-gravel
poetry." --Benjamin Percy, author of "The Wilding"