Terry Blackhawk is the founder and director of Detroit 's acclaimed InsideOut Literary Arts Project, a poets-in-schools program serving over 5,000 youth per year. She began teaching English in 1968 after graduating from Antioch College , and took up writing poetry, herself, when she was already teaching it to her students. "I thought, 'If I'm asking them to do this, I should have the same experience myself.' I fell in love with it. I became a poet. It's who I am."
Terry's poetry collections include Body & Field (Michigan State University Press, 1999), Escape Artist (BkMk Press, 2003), selected by Molly Peacock for the John Ciardi Prize; and The Dropped Hand (Marick Press, 2007). She has published two chapbooks, Trio: Voices from the Myths (Ridgeway Press, 1998) and Greatest Hits 1989-2003 (Pudding House Press). Her poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including Marlboro Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Florida Review, Borderlands, Artful Dodge, The MacGuffin and Nimrod. Her essays have been published in Review Revue, An Emily Dickinson Encyclopedia, Language Arts Journal of Michigan and anthologies from the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. She was a finalist for the 2009 Pablo Neruda Prize from Nimrod Press for “Out of the Labyrinth” and other poems. She has received many recognitions for her teaching, including Creative Writing Educator of the Year from the Michigan Youth Arts Festival (2008), a Humanities Award from Wayne County Arts, History and Humanities Council (2008), and 2007 Detroit Bookwoman of the Year from the Women’s National Book Association. She is the recipient of the 2010 Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize from Nimrod International for her poem "Chambered Nautilus, with Tinnitus and Linden." Terry's latest poetry collection is The Light Between (Wayne State University Press, 2012.)
The oldest of four children, Terry remembers her youth as a sort of movable feast. Her father, Ben Bohnhorst, was a much-traveled professor of education; her mother, Marie, a pianist. There was little money, but loads of culture. "The piano followed us wherever we moved." She is the mother of the historian Ned Blackhawk and grandmother to Eva and Tobias.
Terry serves on the board of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and is a founding board member of the WITS (Writers in the Schools) Alliance.