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Marilyn Nelson was born in Cleveland and was raised on several military bases. Her books include "The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems," which was a finalist for the 1998 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the 1997 National Book Award and the PEN Winship Award; "Magnificat"; "The Homeplace," which won the 1992 Annisfield-Wolf Award and was a finalist for the 1991 National Book Award; "Mama's Promises"; and "For the Body." She has also published two collections of verse for children, including "The Cat Walked Through the Casserole and Other Poems for Children" (with Pamela Espeland). Her honors include two Pushcart Prizes, two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship and the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award. Since 1978 she has taught at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, where she is a professor of English. Her latest book is "Snook Alone" (Candlewick), which is illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering.