Cecilia Woloch was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and grew up there and in rural Kentucky, one of seven children of a homemaker and an airplane mechanic. She attended Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, earning degrees in English and Theater Arts, before moving to Los Angeles in 1979. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University L.A. in 1999. A celebrated teacher, Ms. Woloch has conducted poetry workshops for thousands of children and young people throughout the United States and around the world, as well as workshops for professional writers, educators, participants in Elderhostel programs for senior citizens, and inmates at a prison for the criminally insane. She has served on the creative writing faculties at the University of Redlands, California State University at Northridge, The New England College MFA Program in Poetry, Emory University in Atlanta, and she is currently a lecturer in the creative writing program at the University of Southern California as well as a member of the core faculty of the low-residency MFA Program in Professional Writing at Western Connecticut State University.She is the founding director of Summer Poetry in Idyllwild and of The Paris Poetry Workshop. Her books of poems are Sacrifice (Cahuenga Press, 1997), a BookSense 76 selection in 2001; Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem; (Cahuenga Press, 2002) and Late (BOA Editions, 2003) for which she was named Georgia Author of the Year in Poetry in 2004. Her poems have been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2005, Billy Collins' 180 More (Extraordinary Poems for Every Day), Garrison Keillor's Good Poems for Hard Times, among others, and have also appeared in such journals and magazines as The Antioch Review, Nimrod, New Letters, The Chattahoochee Review, Zyzzyva, Natural Bridge, and on Minnesota Public Radio's The Writers' Almanac. Her prose, essays, reviews and interviews have appeared in Quick Fiction, The New Southerner, The Cider Press Review, The Poetry Flash, Sentence and other publications. Her poems have been translated into French, German and Polish, and she spends part of each year on the road in the U.S. and Europe.
Late is driven by the alternating energies of prose poems and free verse. Woloch understands a personâ€™s true relationships with family, friends and lovers arrive lateâ€”if at all. The exquisite pathos in these poems disclose Wolochâ€™s abiding empathy for family, children, ex-lovers, and strangers.
"To write movingly about love in an era infused with hate requires a special gift: nostalgia hard-edged with realism. She has that gift." -- Maxine Kumin
Tsigan is a book-length poetic meditation that intertwines the author's personal journey of identity with the larger forces in the world that have shaped the Roma people's fate and fortunes.
"Upon the blank page of her grandmother's, and every gypsy's, death, Cecilia Woloch writes her own story. Haunted. Unsettled. Gorgeously so." -- Ralph Angel
Sacrifice is hailed by poet-critic David St. John as "an extraordinary debut . . . The exquisite sensuality of these poems is matched only by [their] heart-breaking delicacy . . . Cecilia Woloch's poems unveil the wreckage of love after what has been sacramental turns sacrificial . . . they are prayers spoken to, and on behalf of, a difficult world."