Mei-mei Berssenbrugge was born in Beijing and grew up in Massachusetts. She received degrees in poetry from Reed College and Columbia University School of the Arts and taught poetry at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her books include Empathy from Station Hill Press and five books from Kelsey Street Press: Sphericity, Endocrinology, Four Year Old Girl, NEST and Concordance, with covers and design by her husband, Richard Tuttle. Among her awards are two National Endowment Fellowships, two Before Columbus National Book Awards and two Asian American Writers’ Workshop Book Awards. I Love Artists: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS was released from the University of California Press in 2006. Her collaborations include Hiddenness with Richard Tuttle published by the Whitney Museum Library Fellows in 1997 and The Lit Cloud with Kiki Smith from Lelong Gallery in 2012. Hello, the Roses, was published by New Directions in 2013. In 2021 Berssenbrugge was named the winner of Yale’s 2021 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry. The prize is awarded biennially to an American poet for the best book of poetry in the previous two years or for lifetime achievement. For Berssenbrugge the award recognized her work A Treatise of Stars (New Directions, 2020) and lifetime achievement. Berssenbrugge lives in northern New Mexico and New York City.
Kiki Smith was born in Nuremberg, Germany, and grew up in New Jersey. She has exhibited her work since the 1980s, when she was a member of COLAB, an influential artists' collective in New York City. Her work is represented in museums throughout Europe and the United States. A major retrospective of her prints, PRINTS, BOOKS AND THINGS, took place at the Museum of Modern Art, 2003. In 2006 Walker Art Museum organized a major survey retrospective of her oeuvre, which then traveled to Houston and, finally, to the Whitney Museum in New York. Smith lives and works in New York City.