Writer Mark Turcotte spent his earliest years on North Dakota's Turtle Mountain Chippewa Reservation and in the migrant camps of the western United States. Later, he grew up in and around Lansing, Michigan. After finishing school he traveled the country, working and living on the road for nearly fifteen years.
Arriving in Chicago in the spring of 1993 Turcotte rediscovered a love of words, began writing again, and quickly established himself as a unique voice in the city’s thriving poetry scene. That summer he was winner of the First Gwendolyn Brooks Open-mic Poetry Award. By years-end he had two books of poetry being prepared for publication, and soon thereafter he was selected by Ms. Brooks as a Significant Illinois Poet and was named to the Illinois Authors Poster. During his time in Chicago Turcotte was also the recipient of a Writer’s Community Residency from National Writer's Voice and was awarded the 1997 Josephine Gates Kelly Memorial Fellowship from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.
Turcotte is author of The Feathered Heart (Michigan State University Press, revised, 1998), Songs of Our Ancestors (Children's Press, 1995), a chapbook,Road Noise (Mesilla Press, 1998), and Le Chant de la Route (bilingual, La Vague Verte, 2001). His collection, Exploding Chippewas (Northwestern University Press, 2002), is in its fourth printing. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in many literary journals, including TriQuarterly, POETRY, Hunger Mountain, Rosebud, Prairie Schooner, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares,Sentence and The Missouri Review, and has been anthologized in The POETRY Anthology, 1912-2002, Smokestacks & Skyscrapers: An Anthology of Chicago Writing, and Poetry Daily:366 among other collections. His poem, The Flower On, was part of the Poetry Society of America’s Poetry In Motionproject, which placed poetry placards on public transportation in cities across the United States. His work is included in the NEA/Poetry Foundation high school recitation project Poetry Out Loud.
Turcotte was awarded 1999 and 2003 Literary Fellowships by the Wisconsin Arts Board, and he was the recipient of a 2001-2002 Lannan Foundation Literary Completion Grant. In 2004 he completed a National Book Foundation AmericanVoices assignment at Wind River, Wyoming, and a Lannan Writer’s Residency in Marfa, Texas.
After receiving an MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, Turcotte served as the 2008-2009 Visiting Native Writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has now returned to Chicago where he teaches Creative Writing as Visiting Assistant Professor in English at DePaul University.