Robin Chapman


Madison, WI
Wisconsin US

Author's Bio

Robin Chapman is a developmental psycholinguist and a poet who grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and attended Swarthmore College (B.A.) and the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D). She is author of ten full-length poetry collections, including The Way In (Tebot Bach, 1999) and Images of a Complex World: The Art and Poetry of Chaos (with J.C. Sprott’s explanations and fractals; World Scientific, 2005), both winners of the Posner Poetry Award; The Dreamer Who Counted the Dead (WordTech Editions 2007) and Six True Things (Tebot Bach, 2016), both winners of an Outstanding Achievement Poetry Award from the Wisconsin Library Association; the eelgrass meadow (Tebot Bach, 2011), honorable mention for a Posner Award; and Abundance, winner of the Cider Press Review Editors’ Award; and most recently, The Only Home We Know (Tebot Bach, 2019). About Abundance, poet Kelly Cherry writes, “Impeccably crafted, passionate, and attentive, Robin Chapman’s new poetry collection distills the subtle beauties of the northern plains.” She is recipient of the Helen Howe Poetry Award from Appalachia for her poem "Banff." Her chapbooks include The Only Everglades in the World (Parallel Press), an account of a tandem kayaking trip through the national park; and Dappled Things, a portfolio of her poems and Peter Miller's photographed photogravures of Asian landscapes (Paris: Revue K, 2013). She co-edited the anthologies On Retirement: 75 Poems (University of Iowa Press, 2007) and Love Over 60: an anthology of women's poems (Mayapple Press, 2010). Her poems have appeared in The American Scholar, The Hudson Review, The Iowa Review, Poetry, and OnEarth, among many other journals, and the anthologies The First Yes, Poetry Comes Up Where It Can, The Shape of Content, and Strange Attractors: A Collection of Mathematical Love Poems, among others. A recipient of three Wisconsin Arts Board grants, including a 2007 Literary Arts Fellowship, she has collaborated with artists in multiple disciplines. Her poems have been incorporated in the paintings of Canadian artist Colleen Anderson-Millard, set to music by Canadian composer Sara Turner and Americans Stephen Paulus and Joseph Dangerfield, and selected by Pattiann Rogers to be part of permanent signage for the African cichlid fish and the giraffes at Milwaukee's Public Zoo as part of Poet House's The Language of Conservation project. Co-founder of Epidemic Peace Imagery, an exhibit of poetry and painting from over 500 artists that traveled the state from 2003 to 2009, she is a professor emerita of Communicative Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received the 2006 Career Research Scientist award from the Academy on Mental Retardation for her work on language learning in children and adolescents with Down syndrome. She teaches week-long poetry workshops at The Clearing, a folk school in Door County, and Bjorklunden. She lives with her husband Will Zarwell, kayaker and Irish accordionist and tin whistle player, in Madison, Wisconsin.

Writers Retreats: 

Publications & Prizes

Love Over 60: An anthology of women's poems (Mayapple Press, 2010)
On Retirement: 75 Poems (University of Iowa Press, 2007)
The Only Home We Know (Tebot Bach, 2019)
Six True Things (Tebot Bach, 2016)
One Hundred White Pelicans (Tebot Bach, 2013)
the eelgrass meadow (Tebot Bach, 2011)
Abundance (Cider Press, 2009)
Smoke and Strong Whiskey (WordTech Editions, 2008)
The Dreamer Who Counted the Dead (WordTech Editions, 2007)
Images of a Complex World: The Art and Poetry of Chaos, with J.C. Sprott (World Scientific Publishing, 2005)
The Way In (Tebot Bach, 1999)
Learning to Talk (Fireweed Press, 1992)
Once (Juniper Press, 2005)
Arborvitae (Juniper Press, 2002)
The Only Everglades in the World (Parallel Press, 2001)
Banff Dreaming (Fireweed Press, 1998)
Distance, Rate, Time (Fireweed Press, 1989)
Journals: ,
Hudson Review
, ,
The American Scholar
Prizes won: 
  • Wisconsin Arts Board Individual Development Grant 1990, 1993
  • Wisconsin Arts Board Literary Arts Fellowship, 2007
  • Posner Poetry Award from Council for Wisconsin Writers, 2000, 2006. Honorable mention, 2012.
  • Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Award from the Wisconsin Library Association 2008, 2017.
  • Helen Howe Poetry Prize, Appalachia, 2010.
  • International Publication Prize, Atlanta Review, 2010.

Personal Favorites

Favorite authors: 
William Stafford Muriel Rukeyser Pattiann Rogers Mary Oliver ee cummings Dylan Thomas and many more!
What I'm reading now: 
Educated by Tara Westover, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Washington, DC
Raised in: 
Oak Ridge, TN
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: May 01, 2019