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Elise Paschen

Elise Paschen, a poet of Osage descent, is the author of The Nightlife (Red Hen, 2017), Bestiary (Red Hen, 2009), and Infidelities (Story Line, 1996), winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize. She is editor of the New York Times best-selling anthology Poetry Speaks to Children (Sourcebooks, 2005) and Poetry Speaks Who I Am (Sourcebooks, 2010). After graduating from Harvard, she received her M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees from University of Oxford. She was Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America and cofounder of Poetry in Motion. She teaches in the MFA Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


The Week Before She Died

Fall 2016 | Poetry

I dream us young, again,
mother and daughter back
on 69th Street inside
our old brownstone—across
from the church, patch of lawn— 

a house neglected, wrecked,
as if the family
had been forced at gunpoint
to move away. In corners
dirt stacked like miniscule

Bat House

Fall 2016 | Poetry

Turn out the light and I’ll explain. 
—James Fenton

It’s where I’m heading
It’s what I overheard
The lines in the corner
The flaming word.

It’s what you expected
Your greatest fear
A chip in the teacup
Bills from last year.

The Elevated

Fall 2016 | Poetry

Train on the rails
Moon buttonholes the sky
The sorrow, the sails
Your hand, my thigh.

Moon buttonholes the sky
Lines trail airplanes
Your hand, my thigh
Doors close again.