Gretchen Legler is a farmer, gardener, teacher, writer, lover of the natural world and the author of three booklength works of nonfiction: All The Powerful Things: A Sportswoman’s Notebook, On The Ice: An Intimate Portrait of Life at McMurdo Station Antarctica, and Woodsqueer: Crafting a Sustainable Rural Life. Her writing has garnered two Pushcart Prizes, a Notable Essay designation in Best American Essays, the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment creative writing award, a starred review in Kirkus Reviews, and was a finalist for the Steinberg Essay Prize, and the Publishing Triangle Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction.  She teaches creative writing and English at the University of Maine Farmington, where she is also the Director of the Campus and Community Garden. 

Her scholarly work, personal essays and other writing has appeared in many journals, magazines and anthologies, including The Polar Journal, Contemporary Literary Criticism, Studies in the Humanities, Fourth Genre, ISLE, 1996, Brevity, the Georgia Review, Orion Magazine, The Women’s Review of Books, Barry Lopez’s Home Ground: Language for An American Landscape, and Lorraine Anderson’s Sisters of the Earth: Women’s Poetry and Prose About Nature. Her curiosity about the wonders of the natural world has taken her far and wide, including to the Kingdom of Bhutan where she spent a year as a Fulbright Teaching Fellow, and to Antarctica as part of the National Science Foundation Artists and Writers Program.


Gretchen has been teaching creative writing for more than 30 years in MFA and undergraduate programs and community workshops in Alaska, Maine, Boston, New Hampshire and elsewhere. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Journalism from Macalester College, a Master’s degree in Creative Writing and Ph.D. in English and Feminist Studies from the University of Minnesota, and a Master’s of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, where her interests focused on exploring human connections to the sacred in the natural world.