Monday, June 6, 2011

Self-Portrait, a poem by Chase Twichell.

Post 613 - Chase Twichell was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1950. She received a bachelor's degree from Trinity College (Hartford) in 1973 and earned an MFA from the University of Iowa in 1976. From 1976 to 1984 she worked at Pennyroyal Press, and from 1986 to 1988 she co-edited the Alabama Poetry Series, published by University of Alabama Press. She also co-edited The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach with Robin Behn (HarperCollins, 1992).
She's won awards from the Artists Foundation (Boston), the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She's recently won the $100,000 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award from Claremont Graduate University for Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been, her seventh book of poetry. She's taught at Princeton University, Goddard College, Warren Wilson College, the University of Alabama, and Hampshire College. In 1999, Twichell founded Ausable Press, which she operated until it was acquired by Copper Canyon Press in 2009. A practicing Buddhist, she lives in Keene, New York, with her husband, the novelist Russell Banks.

In a Fall 2003 Tricycle magazine interview, she said, "Zen is a wonderful sieve through which to pour a poem. It strains out whatever's inessential." This is very evident in the following short poem.

Self-Portrait By Chase Twichell.

I know I promised to stop
talking about her,
but I was talking to myself.
The truth is, she’s a child
who stopped growing,
so I’ve always allowed her
to tag along, and when she brings
her melancholy close to me
I comfort her. Naturally
you’re curious; you want to know
how she became a gnarled branch
veiled in diminutive blooms.
But I’ve told you all I know.
I was sure she had secrets,
but she had no secrets.
I had to tell her mine.

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