She was born in Chicago in 1954, the third child and only daughter in a family of seven children. She studied at Loyola University of Chicago and the University of Iowa (M.F.A. Creative Writing 1978). She taught creative writing at every level except first grade and pre-school, a college recruiter, an arts administrator, and as a visiting writer at a number of universities including the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her books include a chapbook of poetry, Bad Boys (Mango Press 1980); two full-length poetry books, My Wicked Wicked Ways (Third Woman 1987, Random House 1992) and Loose Woman (Alfred A. Knopf 1994); a collection of stories, Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories (Random House l991); a children's book, Hairs/Pelitos (Alfred A. Knopf 1994); and two novels, The House on Mango Street (Vintage 1991) and Caramelo (Knopf 2002). Vintage Cisneros, She is published in 2003, is a compilation of selections from her works. The president and founder of the Macondo Foundation, an association of socially engaged writers working to advance creativity, foster generosity, and honor our communities; and the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation.