Ann Townsend is the author of three full-length collections of poetry: Dime Store Erotics (Silverfish Review Press, 1998), The Coronary Garden (Sarabande Books, 2005), and Dear Delinquent (Sarabande Books, 2019), which was recently named a “New and Notable” book in The New York Times. In addition, she is the author of three chapbooks of poetry (The Braille Woods, St. Louis Poetry Center, 1997, Holding Katherine (with David Baker), Main Traveled Roads Press, 1996, and Modern Love, Bottom Dog Press, 1995). She is the author/editor (with David Baker) of Radiant Lyre: Essays on Lyric Poetry (Graywolf, 2007). Her poetry and essays have been widely published and anthologized. Since 1992 she has taught creative writing, 19th and 20th century poetry, translation and environmental literature at Denison University, where she is professor and director of creative writing.
A winner of the “Discovery”/ The Nation Poetry Prize (1994), and the James Dickey Prize in Poetry (Five Points, 2003), she has received grants from the Ohio Arts Council (1996) and the National Endowment for the Arts (2003). She is the recipient of residency fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference (Theodore Morrison Scholar in Poetry, 1990; Katherine Bakeless Fellow in Poetry, 1998), MacDowell (fellowship in 1997) the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (fellowships in 2005, 2006), Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest (fellow and writer-in-residence, 2013) and the Lannan Foundation (Marfa Residency Fellowship, 2014).
In 2009, she (along with co-founders Erin Belieu and Cate Marvin) founded VIDA: Women in Literary Arts to address gender inequality in the field of literary publishing and editing. Initiatives included The Count, which tallied gender inequity in literary editing and publishing, and a VIDAship program to support emerging women writers. Until 2015, when the founders rotated off of the Board in order to give a younger generation of women the opportunity to run the organization, Townsend served on the executive committee of the Board of Directors (2010-2015) and was the chief financial officer in charge of finances, fundraising, and long-range strategic planning. In 2016, Townsend, Marvin and Belieu were awarded the Poets & Writers/Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award, which honors those who have made substantial, game-changing contributions to the larger literary community.