Edward Rielly was born to Harold and Irene Rielly in southwestern Wisconsin. The youngest of five children, he grew up on the family dairy farm and attended a one-room school for eight years—a way of life that is reflected in his memoir, Bread Pudding and Other Memories: A Boyhood on the Farm, and in much of his poetry.
After graduating from Fort Defiance School and Darlington High School, he attended Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, earning a B.A. in English. He earned a doctorate in English from the University of Notre Dame and has taught in several schools, since 1978 at Saint Joseph's College in Maine. He directs the Writing and Publishing program at Saint Joseph's and teaches a variety of writing, literature, and linguistics courses.
Edward Rielly is a prolific and versatile writer who has written or edited close to thirty books. His publications include biographies, volumes of his own poetry (including several collections of haiku), cultural history, Native American history, a memoir of his childhood, children's books, pedagogical works, and books about baseball and football.
Since 1978, he has lived in Westbrook, Maine, with his wife of over forty-five years, Jeanne. Much to the delight of both Edward and Jeanne, their children, Brendan and Brigid, their children's spouses, Erica and Phil, and their grandchildren—Morgan, Shannon, Maura, Sadie, and Molly—all live in the same town.
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Spring Rain Winter Snow "is a model example of the kind of work we need to promote quality contemporary English language haiku to children. Rielly, a well-known, veteran haiku poet from Maine, has included twenty-nine strong haiku organized by season. There are one to three on each page, written in curved lines on beautiful illustrations that look like cut paper collages. Though the illustrations contain seasonal images, they are not specific depictions of the text, and act more like haiga. Each haiku is written in one curved line with asterisks to mark the line breaks in a very effective way: spring melts...*a baseball rises beneath* the forsythia. Rielly does a great job portraying haiku moments and this book is very useful to classroom teachers. Hopefully, we'll see more books like this in the future!"
Because of the haiku's focus on the here and now, and the intimate, important details of human life, they can be especially autobiographical--especially when one has been writing haiku for nearly forty year as the authors has. Through his latest collection, Answers Instead, Rielly looks back at his childhood on a dairy farm, becoming a parent himself, and of additional generations. He is a strong craftsman and the haiku delight. As he confides in the introduction--and as would be expected of a short form--these are glimpses rather than a fully formed biography. But each contain a truth and glimpse into a life...at the loan desk/a farmer talking quietly--/autumn drizzle.
Modern Haiku, Summer 2016