Terry Ann Thaxton is a fifth generation Floridian who spent most of her childhood roaming hundreds of acres of natural land surrounding her house. Much of the natural lands have since been bulldozed to make room for gated communities, and her childhood house is now a swanky restaurant. After graduating high school, she spent her twenties wondering why she wasn’t in college since, as a girl, other than the woods, school was her favorite place. Her father would not agree to pay for her (a girl) to attend college. At age 29, she decided to start college on her own. She earned her BA in English, followed by an MA in English, and then went on to earn her MFA from Vermont College.
Her first book of poems, Getaway Girl (Salt, 2011) won the 18th Annual Frederick Morgan Poetry Prize, and her second book of poems, The Terrible Wife (Salt, 2013) was awarded the 2013 Florida Book Award--Bronze Medal. Her third book of poems Mud Song (Truman State University Press 2017) won the T.S. Eliot 2017 Poetry Prize.
Her textbook Creative Writing in the Community: A Guide (Bloomsbury 2014) is a result of more than a decade of work, training college students to provide creative writing opportunities to community members who might not have the means to attend fee-based classes. She and her students have worked with alternative populations throughout Florida, including homeless shelters, nursing homes, treatment facilities, public schools, prisons, and domestic violence shelters.
Her poetry and prose have been published in numerous journals such as Rattle, The Missouri Review, Connecticut Review, Comstock Review, Hayden’s Ferry, West Branch, Tampa Review, Cimarron Review, Main Street Rag, Cold Mountain Review, Teaching Artist Journal, Connotation Press Online Artifact, and others. She has been awarded the Missouri Review Prize for essay, Barbara Deming Memorial Grant for Women, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
She is professor of English at the University of Central Florida where she teaches creative writing and is the MFA Program Director. She lives near Orlando with her husband (also a writer) and their dog.