She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and from the University of Iowa with an M.F.A. in 1979. She wrote for the Atlanta Gazette from 1974 to 1975.
She taught at the State University of New York at Geneseo, Murray State University, and Ohio University. She was also founding co-editor, along with David Bottoms of Five Points.She taught at Georgia State University from 1986 until 2001, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Her work has appeared in Blackbird Review, Tri-Quarterly, Crazyhorse, the Georgia Review, The Southern Review, Epoch, The New Virginia Review, and The Ohio Review.