Biography of Chase Twichell
Chase Twichell (born August 20, 1950) is an American poet, professor, and publisher, the founder in 1999, of Ausable Press. Her most recent poetry collection is Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been, which earned her Claremont Graduate University's prestigious $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. (Copper Canyon Press, 2010).She is the winner of several awards in writing from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the American Academy of Arts and Letters and The Artists Foundation. Additionally, she has received fellowships from both the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her poems have appeared in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, Field, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, The Paris Review, Poetry, The Nation, and The Yale Review.
Many of Twichell's poems are heavily influenced by her years as a Zen Buddhist student of John Daido Loori at Zen Mountain Monastery, and her poetry in the book The Snow Watcher shows it. She attended the Foote School in New Haven. In the Fall 2003 Tricycle magazine interview with Chase, she says, "Zazen and poetry are both studies of the mind. I find the internal pressure exerted by emotion and by a koan to be similar in surprising and unpredictable ways. Zen is a wonderful sieve through which to pour a poem. It strains out whatever's inessential."
Twichell was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and earned her B.A. from Trinity College and her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She lives in New York with her husband, novelist Russell Banks. She has taught at Princeton University, Warren Wilson College, Goddard College, University of Alabama, and Hampshire College.
Twichell was a judge for the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize.
Chase Twichell Poems
Don't tell me we're not like plants, sending out a shoot when we need to, or spikes, poisonous oils, or flowers.
To The Reader: Twilight
Whenever I look out at the snowy mountains at this hour and speak directly
Hunger For Something
Sometimes I long to be in the woodpile, cut-apart trees soon to be smoke, or even the smoke itself,
Stirred Up By Rain
I fired up the mower although it was about to rain-- a chill late September afternoon, wild flowers re-seeding themselves
A Negative Of Snow
Ice on the puddles, in the cups of fallen leaves. I'd walk with Dad and a handful
Two aides get Dad in the car on the second try. He meddles with his seat belt,
The father is teaching his eight-year old to clean a grouse, the purple-gray skin pimpled by plucking,
I know I promised to stop talking about her, but I was talking to myself.
To The Reader: If You Asked Me
I want you with me, and yet you are the end of my privacy. Do you see how these rooms have become public? How we glance to see if-- who? Who did you imagine?
The mower flipped it belly up, a baby garter less than a foot long, dull green with a single sharp
I like to think about the monastery as I'm falling asleep, so that it comes and goes in my mind like a screen saver.
What etiquette holds us back from more intimate speech, especially now, at the end of the world?
After my father's cremation, my sisters and I agreed to bury him privately
On the first warm day, the aides fret about his pate, fetch his hat. I push him
To The Reader: Twilight
Whenever I look
out at the snowy
mountains at this hour
and speak directly
into the ear of the sky,
it's you I'm thinking of.
You're like the spirits
the children invent
to inhabit the stuffed horse
and the doll.
I don't know who hears me.
I don't know who speaks
when the horse speaks.