Charles Baxter was born in Minneapolis and graduated from Macalester College, in Saint Paul. After completing graduate work in English at the State University of New York at Buffalo, he taught for several years at Wayne State University in Detroit. In 1989, he moved to the Department of English at the University of Michigan--Ann Arbor and its MFA program, where he is currently Adjunct Professor of English. He lives in Ann Arbor.
Baxter is the author of 3 novels, 4 collections of short stories, 3 collections of poems, a collection of essays on fiction and is the editor of a collection of essays concerning memory. (5)
"Here I am, a Midwestern writer in a postmodern age. That's supposed to be impossible. We're all supposed to be citizens of a global village. So what if I say that it still matters if you live in Minnesota or Michigan or North Dakota? If we really lived in a global village, people would be moving uncomplainingly to the Dakotas. But we don't live in any such village, and people haven't been moving to North Dakota in great numbers. They don't have the discipline for it. Where you live shapes you.
Midwesterners are a curious breed: laconic but talkative, forcibly modest. If it occurs to them, people apologize for living here. The lack of variety in the landscape here is our koan. You don't have the infinities of the oceans or the majesty of the Rockies or the historical mania and talkiness of the South or the beauties and pathologies of New England or the energies of the great cities, except in Chicago. You just have rolling fields and nondescript cities. Still, it's all lovable and mysterious. Alice Munro has her little parcel of Ontario. I have Michigan."
-Charles Baxter 7
"His office at the
University of Michigan, where he heads the Master of Fine Arts Program in
Writing, is neat and spare, his desk immaculate. On the surface all seems
simple and ordinary, much like the Middle Western characters he writes about."
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