About Phyllis



Phyllis began pecking away on an old manual typewriter in childhood and never stopped. Her work explores things that tend to divide us, so that we might wrestle our way into deeper understandings of one another. During the pandemic she has felt drawn to write poetry. This blog is the result.

Phyllis has authored or edited 10 books in multiple genres, including poetry, historical fiction, and memoir. Her latest book is For the Sake of One We Love and Are Losing: A Meditative Poem & Journal, a special edition available only at her website (Bell Sound Books, 2020). It was preceded by Beneath the Same Stars, a novel of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 (One Sky Press, 2018). With Ruby R. Wilson she co-edited Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poetry (Grayson Books, 2017), which developed from her successful online project A Year of Being Here. She is also known for The Emptiness of Our Hands, a spiritual memoir chronicling the 47 days that she and co-author James Murray practiced “being present” while living by choice on the streets of Columbus, Ohio (3rd ed., Bell Sound Books, 2018).

Phyllis lives with her scientist-husband, teenage son, and two cats in a cozy 130-year-old house in Brookings, South Dakota.

Land Acknowledgment

Phyllis resides and works in the traditional homeland of the Oceti Ŝakowiŋ, the “Seven Council Fires” of the Dakota, Nakota and Lakota confederacy (more commonly called the Great Sioux Nation). She pays tribute to their long kinship with this land, which has shaped their identity, and she strives to walk upon it with a good heart. Her fiction projects reflect her desire to better understand their cultures and to grapple with the painful realities of Euro-American colonization, genocide and forced assimilation, both past and present.