Originally from Ohio, Phyllis Cole-Dai now makes her home in Brookings, South Dakota, where she resides with her husband and teenage son in a cozy 120-year-old house. Poetry of Presence is her seventh book, and her only volume of poetry. She has also created four music albums and is in demand as a public speaker. “My profession,” she likes to joke, “is whatever doesn’t pay well.” But don’t let her humor fool you. Her work is driven by a profound desire to help create a more humane world for this and future generations. In 2013 her adopted city awarded her the 14th annual Dorothy and Eugene Butler Human Rights Award.
Ruby R. Wilson graduated from South Dakota State University with majors in German and Geography. Though she had a hard time figuring out what she wanted to be when she grew up, she has now found her niche as an archivist in the University Archives & Special Collections Department at SDSU, and as a freelance writer and photographer. She has published three poetry chapbooks: Campus Sketches: Images of South Dakota State University in Word and Photograph (2012), At the Rim of the Horizon (Finishing Line Press, 2014), and Maybe the Moon is Falling (South Dakota State Poetry Society, 2014), one of four winners of the Society’s chapbook competition. She lives on a small acreage in rural Brookings County with her husband Jim. She can sometimes be seen gathering seeds from big bluestem and other native plants, or gazing at stars that aren’t crowded out by city lights.
Fellow writers and great friends, Phyllis and Ruby brought complementary strengths to the creation of Poetry of Presence. Phyllis has practiced mindfulness meditation for more than half her life. Ruby possesses a poet’s eye and ear, and a passionate love of language. They share the belief that mindfulness poetry can help change the world—one poem, one reader, at a time.
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