Christopher A. Cokinos

Professor, Emeritus

Christopher Cokinos is the author of three books of literary nonfiction: Hope Is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds (Tarcher/Penguin 2000); The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars (Tarcher/Penguin 2009); and Bodies, of the Holocene (Truman 2013). In 2016, the University of Arizona Press published his co-edited anthology (with Eric Magrane) The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide, which won a Southwest Book of the Year Award. The poet Gabriel Gudding selected his collection The Underneath as winner of a New American Press Poetry Prize, and it appeared in 2019. With Julie Swarstad Johnson, Cokinos co-edited Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight (Arizona, 2020), which was featured on Planetary Radio, PBS’s “The Open Mind” and in Scientific American. He’s also the author of a poetry chapbook, Held as Earth (Finishing Line). 

His new nonfiction book, Still as Bright: A Backyard Journey through the Natural and Human History of the Moon, is forthcoming from New York independent Pegasus Books in 2024. 

His poetry, essays, reviews and criticism have appeared in such venues as TYPO, Ecotone, Orion, Dark Mountain, The American Scholar, Pacific Standard, Science, Scientific American and Extrapolation. He contributes semi-regularly to the Los Angeles Times and does science writing for such venues as Sky & Telescope, and His work has been featured by “All Things Considered,” People magazine, The New Yorker, Nature and the Washington Post Book World

He's won fellowships and prizes from the Udall Center for Environmental Policy, UCLA's Institute for Environment and Sustainability and the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at Ludwig Maximillian University in Munich. He’s won a Whiting Award, a Glasgow Prize and an N.S.F. Antarctic Visiting Artists and Writers Fellowship, among others. In 2015, he won an Outstanding Mentor of Graduate/Professional Students Award at Arizona. 

While Professor of English at Arizona, Cokinos was also a mentor and lead mentor for the Carson Scholars science-communication program. He also helped develop science-communication training efforts at Arizona. He previously taught at Utah State University, where he founded and edited the N.E.A. award-winning journal Isotope

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