Tess Gallagher was born in Port Angeles, Washington, the daughter of a logger and a longshoreman. A poet, essayist, fiction writer and playwright, she has published many books, including three poetry titles in Britain with Bloodaxe: My Black Horse: New & Selected Poems (1995), Portable Kisses (1996) and Dear Ghosts (2007). She has published two collections of stories, The Lover of Horses (1986) and At the Owl Woman Saloon (1997), and two books of essays, A Concert of Tenses: Essays on Poetry (1986) and Soul Barnacles: Ten More Years with Ray (2000). She co-authored two screenplays with Raymond Carver, and later contributed to the making of the Robert Altman film Short Cuts, based on Carver’s work.
She spends parts of each year in the West of Ireland, near Sligo, where she bought lambs to save them from the butcher and has since begun weaving wall hangings from their fleeces. She recently completed a collection of oral stories from Ireland, Surrounded by Weasels, with Irish painter and storyteller Josie Gray.