The daughter of renowned prima ballerina Maria Tallchief  and Chicago contractor Henry D. Paschen, she was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where she attended the Francis W. Parker School. A graduate of Harvard University, she holds M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees in 20th Century British and American Literature from Oxford University. Paschen is an enrolled member of the Osage Nation. 
Her books of poetry include, most recently, Bestiary as well as Houses: Coasts and Infidelities , winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize. Her poems have been published in The New Yorker, The New Republic , Ploughshares  and Shenandoah .
Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America from 1988 until 2001, she has edited numerous anthologies, including the New York Times bestsellers Poetry Speaks and Poetry Speaks Who I Am . She was the featured Illinois poet at the National Book Festival in September 2006 and is the former Poet Laureate of Three Oaks, Michigan. Dr. Paschen teaches in the MFA Writing Program at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Stuart Brainerd, and their two children.
- Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, for Infidelities
- Houses: Coasts (Sycamore Press, Oxford, 1985)
- Infidelities (Story Line Press, 1996)
- Bestiary (Red Hen Press, 2009) 
Anthologies featuring her poems
- Reinventing the Enemy’s Language: Contemporary Native Women’s Writings of North America (1997)
- Ravishing DisUnities: Real Ghazals in English (2000)
- The POETRY Anthology, 1912—2002 (2002)
- A Formal Feeling Comes: Poems in Form by Contemporary Women (2007)
Editor or co-editor
- Poetry in Motion (1996)
- Poetry Speaks (2001)
- Poetry in Motion from Coast to Coast (2002) 
- Poetry Speaks to Children (2005) 
- Poetry Speaks Expanded (2007) 
- Poetry Speaks Who I Am (2010) 
- 2013-09-26 at the Wayback Machine. Osage Nation. Retrieved 8 July 2012.