About Donna Salli
Donna Salli received her BA in English from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and did her graduate work at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She holds an MFA in Poetry. She studied poetry at the college level wherever she lived. Among her teachers were Seamus Heaney and Michael Blumenthal at Harvard, Mark Strand and Sherod Santos at the University of Utah, and Dara Wier and James Tate at UMass. After graduate school, she moved to Minnesota and began teaching English at Concordia College, Moorhead. Two years later, she married and moved to Brainerd, where she began to write prose and eventually began to teach at Central Lakes College.
Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals, magazines, and newspapers, including Lake Country Journal, Loonfeather, Hellas, The Hawaii Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Little Magazine, Primavera, Quarterly West, Her Voice, Minnesota Literature, Lake Superior Magazine, Cream City Review, and the Star Tribune. Her work has been anthologized, appearing in publications such as Dust & Fire:Women’s Stories and Art by Women from Bemidji State U. Press and North Writers II: Our Place in the Woods from U. of Minnesota Press.
In 2000 she received a Mentor Series Award in poetry from the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. Most recently, she took first place in Poetry on the Wall 2015, a juried poetry exhibit at Franklin Arts Center in Brainerd. She has received regional arts grants, served on poetry grants recommendation panels for the Minnesota State Arts Board, and served as judge and nomination selector for the Minnesota Book Awards. In the early 90s, she acted in summer theatre and afterwards began to write drama. Her play The Rock Farm, about a Finnish-American family living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, has received productions in Finland (in translation), Minnesota, and Michigan. In 2012, The Rock Farm received a staged reading and panel critique as part of PlayLab at the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha. The script was one of 35 selected from 644 submitted. In 2014, a scene from the second act of The Rock Farm received a staged reading at FinnFest in Minneapolis. Donna has continued to act over the years, playing roles ranging from M’Lynn Eatenton in Steel Magnolias and Melissa Gardner in Love Letters to a number of the zanier female callers in Talk Radio.