Phyllis Cole-Dai

Phyllis began writing on an old manual typewriter in childhood and never stopped. Her work explores things that tend to divide us, such as class, ethnicity, religion and gender, so that we might wrestle our way into deeper understandings of one another. These days she is especially concerned with the cultural divide between Euro-Americans and indigenous peoples.

Phyllis has authored or edited nine books in multiple genres, including historical fiction, spiritual nonfiction and poetry. Her latest book is Beneath the Same Stars, a novel of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 (One Sky Press, 2018). With Ruby R. Wilson she co-edited Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poetry (Grayson Books, 2017), which developed from her successful online project A Year of Being Here. She is perhaps best known for The Emptiness of Our Hands: 47 Days on the Streets, a spiritual memoir that chronicles 47 days she and co-author James Murray practiced “being present” while living by choice on the streets of Columbus, Ohio (3rd ed., Bell Sound Books, 2018).

Phyllis has also published four music albums, including Beautiful Is the Moon (2003), Friends (2006), Child of All Earth (2007), and ‘Tis a Gift: Christmas by Guitar (2009).

Born in 1962 in the farming community of Mt. Blanchard, Ohio, Phyllis eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (English, 1984) from Goshen College; a Master of Theological Studies (1987) from the Methodist Theological School; and a Master of Arts (English, 1993) from The Ohio State University.

She now lives with her scientist-husband, teenage son and two cats in Brookings, South Dakota. 


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