Tess Gallagher (born July 21, 1943 in Port Angeles, Washington) is an American poet, essayist, author and playwright. She attended the University of Washington, where she studied creative writing with Theodore Roethke and later Nelson Bentley as well as David Wagoner and Mark Strand. Her honors include a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, two National Endowment for the Arts awards, the The Maxine Cushing Gray Endowed Libraries Visiting Writers Fellowship (University of Washington), and the Elliston Award for "best book of poetry published by a small press" for the collection Instructions to the Double (1976).
Her third husband, Raymond Carver, encouraged her to write short stories, some of which were collected in The Lover of Horses (1987) and At the Owl Woman Saloon (1996).
Her book Moon Crossing Bridge is a collection of poems written after the death of Carver, who died from cancer in 1988. Her newest collection, Dear Ghosts, is her follow-up collection, written in 2002.
Gallagher has taught at many colleges, most recently at Bucknell University and Whitman College. She recently published an essay in The Sun Magazine titled "Instead of Dying" about alcoholism and Raymond Carver's having maintained his sobriety. The essay was initially delivered at the Welsh Academy.
Distant Rain, published in 2006, is a conversation between Tess and Jakuchō Setouchi, a Buddhist nun from Kyoto, which took place after the death of Raymond Carver.