Jill Burkey's Bio

Jill Burkey’s work won the 2015 Mark Fischer Poetry Prize, the 2009 Denver Woman’s Press Club Unknown Writers’ Contest and received honorable mention in the 2009 Mark Fischer Poetry Prize Contest.   Her poems have appeared in Pilgrimage Magazine, Paddlefish, Soundings Review, Grand Valley Magazine, IMPROV Anthology of Colorado Poets, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, in downtown Grand Junction’s “Poetry in the Streets” project, and aired on KAFM 88.1 Community Radio in Grand Junction.  Two of her poems were included in The Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets by Backwaters Press, which received the 2014 Nebraska Book Award for anthology.  She is currently working on her first collection of poetry, Between, as well as several creative nonfiction projects.

Growing up on a three-generation cattle ranch in western Nebraska only miles from the homestead where Mari Sandoz and her famous father, Old Jules, once lived can partially account for Jill’s vivid imagination and curiosity about the past, which fuel her writing.  She attended a one-room schoolhouse through fourth grade and spent many carefree afternoons riding her chestnut mare, Pet, bareback across the pastures surrounding her home.  

In addition to writing, Jill teaches elementary and high school students through the Writers in the Schools (WITS) program coordinated by Colorado Humanities and the Western Colorado Writers’ Forum, of which she is a former board member.  Her students have gone on to publish their poems in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Grand Valley MagazineColorado Life Magazine, (click here to see poems by Brooke Burkey and Lexi Parmeter), and downtown Grand Junction’s “Poetry in the Streets” project. Click here to see winning poems by Jill's students (except Hannah N. Przystup) in the February, 2014 issue of Grand Valley Magazine, and click here to read an article in the March, 2014 Grand Valley Magazine about Jill and WITS.  Two of Jill's Grand Junction High School students were even named national finalists in the 2015 River of Words Poetry and Art Contest.  

Jill earned a BA in English and business administration with endorsements in secondary education from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska.  She currently lives in Grand Junction, Colorado.