Nebraska Authors

Twyla Hansen

Born 1949 Omaha, NE (USA)

Image of Twyla Hansen

Image of Twyla Hansen

Twyla Hansen was Nebraska's State Poet (2013-2019) and co-directs the website Poetry from the Plains: A Nebraska Perspective. Her new book is Rock · Tree · Bird (Backwaters, 2017). Two of her previous books won Nebraska Book Awards. Her writing is published in Midwest Quarterly, Nebraska Life, Organization & Environment, Prairie Fire, Prairie Schooner, South Dakota Review, National Treasures of the Great Plains: An Ecological Perspective, Encyclopedia of the Great Plains, the Poetry Out Loud anthology, and many others. Born in Omaha, she was raised on her Danish grandparents' farm in Burt County.

See also Nebraska poets: William Kloefkorn, John Neihardt (official poets). She has collaborated with ornithologist Paul Johnsgard.

Places Lived

Burt County, NE
Lincoln, NE

Author Of

  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry


Poetry; Nonfiction


Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, 1979, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Master of Agriculture Degree in Agroecology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Curator of the Alice Abel Arboretum
Grounds Manager

Places Worked

Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, NE
Organic Crop Improvement Association
University of Nebraska- Lincoln, Lincoln, NE


Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, 1985
Award of Merit, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, 1986
Poetry Prize, Elkhorn Review, 1988
Poetry Award, 1988, Plainsongs
Johnny Appleseed Award, Nebraska Statewide Arboretum, 1989
Finalist: Woman Artist of the Year 1990 - Lincoln - Lancaster Commission on the Status of Women
1993 Honorable Mention for the Written Word, Lincoln Mayor's Commission on Women
Friend of the Humanities Award, Nebraska Wesleyan University
Mayor's Landscape Conservation Award, 1994
1996 Fellowship, Lyon College (AR) White Rivers Workshop
Pushcart Prize nomination , Prairie Schooner, 2000, 3 Poems
2004 Winner, Nebraska Book Award, Nebraska Center for the Book, Potato Soup
2012 Winner, Nebraska Book Award, Nebraska Center for the Book, 2012, Dirt Songs: A Plains Duet
2012 Finalist, High Plains Books Award, Billings (MT) Parmly Library, Dirt Songs: A Plains Duet
2012 Finalist, WILLA Literary Award, Women Writing the West, Dirt Songs: A Plains Duet
2016 Winner, Lincoln Mayor's Arts Award for Artistic Achievement in Literary Arts
2017 Nebraska 150 Books honor, Potato Soup
2018 Winner, WILLA Literary Award, Women Writing the West, Rock, Tree, Bird
2018 Nebraska Book Award for Poetry, Rock, Tree, Bird
2022 Nebraska Literary Heritage Association - Literary Heritage Award recipient


Prairie Trout writing group
Audubon Society
Collaborated with Paul Johnsgard on book benefiting the Audubon Society's Spring Creek Prairie, Prairie Suite, 2007


Voices of the Plains. 1989. (audio tape series)
How to Live in the Heartland. 1992.
In Our Very Bones. 1997.
Sanctuary Near Salt Creek. 2001.
Field Trip. 2002.
Potato Soup. 2003.
Seasons. 2005. (Collaborator)
Prairie Suite: A Celebration. with Paul Johnsgard, 2006.
Dirt Songs: A Plains Duet. 2011.
Rock, Tree, Bird. 2017.

Poem and Prose featured in:
Songs for the Grand-Daughters . 1986.
The Decade Dance. 1991.
Inherit the Land: Contemporary Voices from the Midwest. 1993.
Nebraska Voice: Telling the Stories of Our State. 1993.
Wellsprings: A Collection of Poems From Six Nebraska Poets. 1995.
Plains Sense of Things 2: Eight Poets from Lincoln, Nebraska. 1997.
Leaning Into The Wind: Women Write from the Heart of the West. 1997.
A Contemporary Reader for Creative Writing. 1997.
Woven on the Wind: Women Friendship in the Sage Brush West. 2001.
Rural Voices. 2002.
Road Trip: Conversations with Writers. 2003.
Poets Against the War. 2003.
Times of Sorrow, Times of Grace. 2003.
Crazy Woman Creek: Women Rewrite the American West. 2004.
Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. 2004.
Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry. 2007.
Red Thread, Gold Thread: the Poets Voice. 2009.
The Untidy Season: Poetry by Nebraska Women. 2013.
Writing in Community: Say Goodbye to Writer's Block and Transform Your Life. 2013.
Women Writers Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence. 2013.
Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology, 1867-2017. 2017.
Nebraska: The Individual Voice.
The Writers Almanac.

Poetry has been featured in many publications including but not limited to:
Briar Cliff Review
Crab Orchard Review
Laurel Review
Midwest Quarterly
Natural Bridge
Nebraska Life
Neihardt Journal
North Dakota Quarterly
Organization and Environment
Palo Alto Review
Plains Song Review
Platte Valley Review
Prairie Schooner
Prairie Fire Newspaper
South Dakota Review

Twyla Hansen has participated in several Ames Reading Series programs:

April 1988 program:

1993 interview and program:

She was one of several readers to participate in the April, 1999 Ames Reading Series:

In September 2007 Twyla Hansen and Paul Johnsgard were the featured presenters at the Ames Reading Series:

In March 2014, she was one of the authors to participate in the Ames Reading Series program, which can be viewed at 1:00:00:

In April 2017, Twyla Hansen was one of the authors to read from their works in an Ames Reading Series program, which can be viewed at 1:04:45:

In May 2023, Twyla and the other members of Prairie Trout Writing Group appeared in an Ames Reading Series program and discussion:

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Twyla Hansen

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)