Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Elise Paschen  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult; Young Adult; Children;

Born: 1959 in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Elise Paschen on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Paschen was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She attended the Francis W. Parker School. 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 .

Biographical and Professional Information

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 Masters in Phil. and Doctorate in 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.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Houses: Coasts
ISBN: 0906003091

Imprint unknown. 1985

Infidelities (Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize Library)
ISBN: 1885266286

Story Line Press. 1996

Book by Paschen, Elise

ISBN: 1597091316

Red Hen Press. 2009

“The poems in Elise Paschen’s Bestiary explore domestic preoccupations set against the backdrop of the wild-heartedness, real and imagined, of the animal world,” praises the poet Jason Shinder. In this modern-day Bestiary, or “Book of Beasts,” the line between animal and human is thinly-drawn – the daughter of a Celtic king, through love, is transformed from beast to human lovers take flight as moon and owl manatees transform, before the explorers’ eyes, into mermaids. This dynamic runs throughout the collection: taking flight, hovering between air and earth, plunging, and then resurfacing from water. The poems create a constant engagement between what tethers us to our daily lives – marriage, motherhood, raising a family, the loss of parents in old age – and the desire for other worlds. Exploring notions of transformation, these poems cross thresholds between animal and human, between death and life.

Award-winning poet, Elise Paschen, creates in her third and most complex poetry collection, work which is elegant and passionate, preternaturally still and reckless all at once. Paschen displays a variety of form and nuance – from ghazals to long-lined free verse poems. Writing out of a distinct Western literary tradition, but tapping into her Native American (Osage) roots, Paschen celebrates the mythic, the unusual, the magical glimpsed in the everyday.


''Infidelitites'', Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)