Elise Paschen, a poet of Osage descent, is the author of Bestiary (Red Hen Press, 2009); Infidelities (Story Line Press), winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, and Houses: Coasts (Oxford: Sycamore Press). Her poems have been published in The New Republic, Ploughshares and Shenandoah, among other magazines, and in numerous anthologies, including Reinventing the Enemy’s Language: Contemporary Native Women’s Writings of North America; A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary Women; Poetry 180: A Turning Back to Poetry and The POETRY Anthology, 1912—2002. She is editor of The New York Times best-selling anthology Poetry Speaks to Children and Poetry Speaks Who I Am (Sourcebooks) as well as co-editor of Poetry Speaks, Poetry Speaks Expanded (Sourcebooks), Poetry in Motion, and Poetry in Motion from Coast to Coast (Norton).

The daughter of prima ballerina Maria Tallchief and Henry Paschen, Elise Paschen was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where she attended the Francis W. Parker School. While an undergraduate at Harvard, Paschen was awarded the Lloyd McKim Garrison Medal and the Joan Grey Untermyer Poetry Prize. At Oxford University, where she received her M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees in 20th Century British and American Literature, she co-founded Oxford Poetry.

Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America from 1988 until 2001, she is the co-founder of Poetry in Motion, a nation-wide program which places poetry posters in subways and buses. Paschen was the featured Illinois poet at the National Book Festival sponsored by the Library of Congress in September 2006. She currently serves as Poet Laureate of Three Oaks, Michigan. A former Frances Allen Fellow of the Newberry Library, Dr. Paschen teaches in the MFA Writing Program at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives in Chicago with her husband and their two children.


Bestiary reviewed in Rattle
Review of Bestiary in Publishers Weekly, January 2009
Review of Bestiary in NewPages Book Reviews, August 2009


Poetic Paschen: The Chicago Poet has spread the good wordings via book, CD—and subway. Harvard Magazine May-June 2011
Elise Paschen: poetry for teens caters to the rebel in each of us
Chicago Close Up: Elise Paschen, ABC News, March 12, 2009
“Language in Array” Interview, WRHC FM, June 1, 2008
Eclectic Literary Forum Magazine Interview
NPR interview on Poetry Speaks to Children
Valparaiso Poetry Review Interview
Fifth Wednesday Journal

Video Recordings

Elise Paschen reading at the Poetry Center of Chicago (video)

Audio Recordings

Webcast of Elise Paschen reading at the Library of Congress (audio)
Elise Paschen reading on Chicago Public Radio (audio)
Elise Paschen reads her poem, “Monarch.” on Chicago Public Radio (audio)


Red Hen
Native Wiki
Poetry Center
Poetry Society of America

Photo credit: Jennifer Girard