Award-winning Poet & Teacher
“Twichell’s carefully designed poems work like glancing blows and we walk away, only to discover that we have been touched deeply.” –Yusef Komunyakaa
"Suppose you had Sappho's passion, the intelligence and perspicacity of Curie, and Dickinson's sweet wit, all mixed into a brilliantly shifting connectivity of ideas, scenes, creatures, phantoms, moods, and suspicions, and set her in the life we know we live. Then you would have the poems of Chase Twichell, which are so splendid and astonishing." —Hayden Carruth
"[Twichells] poems generate the requisite heat with the poet's precise, original, and frequently brilliant use of language...A major voice in contemporary poetry." —Publisher's Weekly
Chase Twichell has published seven books of poetry: Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been: New & Selected Poems, Dog Language, The Snow Watcher, The Ghost of Eden, Perdido, The Odds, and Northern Spy. She is also the translator, with Tony K. Stewart, of The Lover of God by Rabindranath Tagore, and co-editor of The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach.
Twichell views writing a poem as an act of questioning what it means to have human consciousness and the language to truthfully and accurately convey it, so that the finished poem throws a fresh and surprising light on what it means to be sentient. A practicing Buddhist and student in the Mountains and Rivers Order at Zen Mountain Monastery, her poems reflect her spiritual practice within the ancient tradition of Basho and Dogen, as well as the contemporary company of Gary Snyder and W.S. Merwin. Robert Hass wrote of Twichell’s poems that they are “full of sharp observation...a sinewy intellectual toughness, and...a stark, sometimes bewildered clarity.“
Twichell is the winner of the prestigious Kingsley and Kate Tufts Poetry Award (2011). In 1997 she won the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America for The Snow Watcher. Her work has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Artists Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She was awarded a Smart Family Foundation Award in 2004 for poems published in the Yale Review.
After teaching for many years (Warren Wilson College, The University of Alabama, Goddard College, Hampshire College, and Princeton University), she left academia to start Ausable Press, a not-for-profit publisher of poetry which was acquired by Copper Canyon press in 2009. She lives in upstate New York and Miami with her husband, the novelist Russell Banks.
About HORSES WHERE THE ANSWERS SHOULD HAVE BEEN (2010)
"Chase Twichell's unsparing eloquence deserves a summa cum laude from Auden. The poems in this new book are unsettling and profound in their fierce embrace of the world." —Carol Muske-Dukes
Publishers Weekly called Chase Twichell “a major voice in contemporary poetry,” and this long overdue retrospective supports the claim. Selected from six award-winning books, this volume collects the best of Twichell’s meditative and startling poems. A longtime student of Zen Buddhism, Twichell probes how the self changes over time and how the perception of self affects the history and meaning of our lives. Her poems exhibit a deep and urgent love of the natural world amidst ecological decimation, while also delving into childhood memories and the surprise and nourishment that come from radical shifts in perception.
About DOG LANGUAGE (2005)
Dog Language addresses the Zen question "What is the self?" in the modern age, where individual identity is questioned, medicated, and revised. Chase Twichell's tightly drawn poems move through the stages of human development and capture the complex emotions and challenges of family and aging. Like the best of artists, Twichell is able to handle common themes and emotions without ever reducing them to cliché or sentiment. She reminds us of "The Rules" she uses in her poems: "Tell the truth. No decoration. Remember death." In a poignant section of Dog Language, she writes of her father's death and asks what, if anything, survives us.