A intrepid adventurer ever willing to do what it takes to get the story, Cokinos has traveled by open boat 600 miles north of the Arctic Circle, in search of the sites of three giant iron meteorites that Robert Peary took from the Inuit, and spent weeks living in a tent on the Antarctic plateau to document the scientific search for meteorites. He has spent days living inside Biosphere 2 writing poetry, and suited up to participate in a week-long mission of pretending to be an astronaut at the Mars Desert Research Station.
He has taken some of that research and turned it into two volumes of nonfiction science & nature writing Hope is the Thing With Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds (Tarcher/Putnam) and The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars (Tarcher/Putnam), co-editor of the anthologies The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide, and Beyond Earth's Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight, as well as the poetry collections: Held As Earth, Bodies, of the Holocene and The Underneath.
Articles, poems and essays about space and astronomy are recent or forthcoming in Sky & Telescope, The Space Review, SkyNews and the Los Angeles Times, to which he regularly contributes op-eds. His work has been featured or reviewed in many venues, including “NPR's All Things Considered,” USA Today, The New York Times, People, Science, The New Yorker, Scientific American, Nature and Michio Kaku’s “Science Fantastic.”
He has won fellowships and awards from multiple establishments, including the Whiting Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Rachel Carson Center in Munich. Other awards include the John Burroughs Prize for Best Natural History Essay, the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award, the Glasgow Prize for an Emerging Writer, a UCLA Institute of Environment and Sustainability Journalism Fellowship and the New American Press Poetry Prize.
Cokinos currently teaches creative writing, the history of science fiction, and science communication at the University of Arizona. Former students have gone on to publish books with Little, Brown; William Morrow; Orbit; Broadway; Georgia and other presses. As a mentor in the Carson Scholars program at UA; Cokinos has helped train nearly 100 young scientists in environmental fields to speak and write with accuracy and passion about their stewardship of the future. This work has been recognized with Graduate and Professional Student Council Mentor of the Year Award. He was also the founding editor of Isotope: A Journal of Literary Nature & Science Writing; a magazine that twice won grants from the National Endowment for the Arts during its 10-year span under his editorship.
Each summer he backpacks the high country in Utah each summer and, from his backyard in Tucson, regularly "hikes" the surface of the Moon through the eyepiece of his 10-inch telescope for an ongoing book about the bit of rock that circles this place we call home.