Richard Chess is the author of three books of poetry, Third Temple (2007), Chair in the Desert (2000), and Tekiah (1994). His poems have appeared in many journals as well as several anthologies, including Bearing the Mystery: 25 Years of Image, Best American Spiritual Writing 2005, and Telling and Remembering: A Century of American-Jewish Poetry.
An award winning and much-sought after teacher, he is the Roy Carroll Professor of Honors Arts and Sciences and Professor of Literature and Language at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He directs UNCA’s Center for Jewish Studies. He has been a member of the low-residency MFA faculties at Warren Wilson College and Queens College. He served for a number of years as writer-in-residence at the Brandeis Bardin Institute in Simi Valley, California. He also served as assistant director of The Jewish Arts Institute at Elat Chayyim, located at the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, where he taught creative writing in a two year training institute.
Having completed the Jewish Mindfulness Teacher Training Program, he is a co-leader of the Asheville Jewish Mindfulness Meditation Circle at Congregation Beth Israel. He is also working to introduce, and encourage and provide support for the use of contemplative pedagogy at UNC Asheville and other educational institutions.