Twyla Hansen was born and raised in northeast Nebraska. She was raised on the farm her grandparents had purchased as immigrants from Denmark in the late 1880s. Hansen earned her BS in horticulture and MA in agroecology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the author of numerous books of poetry, including How to Live in the Heartland (1992), Sanctuary Near Salt Creek (2001), and Potato Soup (2003), which won the Nebraska Book Award for poetry. Hansen collaborated with rancher and writer Linda Hasselstrom on the collection Dirt Songs: A Plains Duet (2011); the book won the Nebraska Book Award in poetry and was a finalist for the Willa Literary Award and the High Plains Book Award.
 
Hansen’s writing has appeared widely in periodicals and anthologies. She is a creative writing presenter through the Speakers Bureau of the Nebraska Humanities Council. In 2013, Hansen was appointed Nebraska State Poet. She lives and works in Lincoln, Nebraska.