Phyllis Pilisuk grew up in New York. Her life was filled with the excitement of the city, the sounds and sights, the museums, shows, and department stores all just a bus, a trolley, or subway ride away. It was also a life filled with loss and grief for an older sister and for her mother, both of whom died while she was a child. While still a teenager she experienced early symptoms of multiple sclerosis. She married, did graduate work at Harvard, and the Universities of Michigan and California and raised a family in Berkeley, California where she has lived since 1967. In her words:
I did it all as a wife, a mother and a grandmother of twins. I worked through two graduate degrees, short careers as a researcher and as a social worker and a long time peace activist - but always haunted by the shadow of multiple sclerosis. Yet I was always seeking joy and meaning. My voice tried to find expression through pottery and painting but I was not quite fulfilled. Then I found poetry and it has stayed with me, to savor and to share.
She studied with poets Marcy Allancraig, Julie Gamberg and Donna Davis. Her work has appeared in such anthologies as Bay Area Poet's Coalition. Across the Generations, Landmarks and Landings and Woman Seed.