Elise Paschen was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. While an undergraduate at Harvard, she was awarded the Lloyd McKim Garrison Medal and the Joan Grey Untermyer Poetry Prize. Elise received her M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees in 20th Century British and American Literature at Oxford University where 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. Paschen was the featured Illinois poet at the National Book Festival sponsored by the Library of Congress in September 2006. Elise Paschen is the author of Bestiary (Red Hen Press, 2009), Infidelities (Story Line Press, 1996), winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, and Houses: Coasts (Oxford: Sycamore Press). Her poems have been published in numerous journals and anthologies and she is editor of The New York Times best-selling anthology Poetry Speaks to Children and Poetry Speaks Who I Am (Sourcebooks). Dr. Paschen serves as Poet Laureate of Three Oaks, Michigan and 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.
Billy Collins has published six collections of poetry, including Questions About Angels and The Art of Drowning, Picnic, Lightning, his latest, sold more than 25,000 copies in its first year. He teaches at Lehman College of the City University of New York and at Sarah Lawrence College. He was named U.S. Poet Laureate in June 2000.
Nikki Giovanni is one of the most prominent black poets of her generation. Born on June 7, 1943, in Knoxville, Tenn., she graduated from Fisk University and later studied at Columbia University. Giovanni creates strongly written poems to convey messages of love, frustration, alienation, and the black experience. She gained national fame with the publication of Black Feeling, Black Talk, Black Judgement in 1970. Full of the spirit of the black community during this era, her works captured the anger and frustration of many of its members. Giovanni has been the recipient of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ford Foundation. She has taught English at Rutgers University, Ohio State University, and Queens College and has given frequent poetry readings. She is also known for several sound recordings of her poetry, including Truth Is On Its Way. She has also been a Professor of English at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.