Denise Low

Denise Low, former Kansas Poet Laureate, is award-winning author of 35 books of prose and poetry. She blogs, reviews, and co-publishes Mammoth Publications, which specializes in Indigenous American authors. American Book Review wrote of her Jackalope (Red Mountain Press 2016), short fiction: “an engaging and humorous read, one that reveals a great deal about the parallel, contemporary Native America that exists and thrives in ways largely invisible to many other Americans.” Recent books are Jigsaw Puzzling: Essays (Meadowlark 2022), A Casino Bestiary (Spartan Press) and poetry from Red Mountain Press: Wing (2021), Shadow Light (2017 Editor’s Choice Award) and Mélange Block (2014). She posts commentary about poets and writers on her blog. Members of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs elected her to the national board in 2008-13, and she served as president of the AWP board 2011-2012. She is a founding board member of Indigenous Nations Poets (In-Na-Po). The Poetry Foundation selected samples of her work for its site, where she is listed among Native American poets.

TEACHING EXPERIENCE. Currently, Denise Low teaches for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies and leads independent creative writing workshops. She has been visiting professor in the Creative Writing programs of the University of Richmond (’05)  and the University of Kansas (’08). She taught at Haskell Indian Nations University, where she founded the creative writing program, for 25 years.

RECENT ONLINE PUBLICATIONS. The poem “Two Gates” was selected for the national series American Life in Poetry (ed. Ted Kooser). Recent reviews and essays appear in New Letters, Kansas City Star, North Dakota Quarterly (79.2, Spring 2014) and Numero Cinq.

OTHER PUBLICATIONS: Low’s Natural Theologies: Essays about Literature of the New Middle West (The Backwaters Press 2011) is the first book about contemporary grasslands-region literature. Ghost Stories: From Einstein’s Brain to Geronimo’s Boots(Woodley 2010) won a Ks. Notable Book Award, as well as Words of a Prairie Alchemist(Ice Cube Press 2006) . She edited two editions of Kansas Poems of William Stafford(Woodley 2010). Her collection of commentaries about Kansas-related poets, Ad Astra Poetry Project: Kansas Poets (Washburn Center for Ks. Studies & Mammoth) also won a Kansas Notable Book Award. She and her husband Thomas Weso wrote a photo-biography, Langston Hughes in Lawrence. Other writings, appear in Va. Quarterly Rev., New Letters, Yellow Medicine Rev., Conguries, North American Rev., Northwest Rev., Midwest Q., Connecticut Rev., and others.

AWARDS: She holds a 2011-2012 NEH Facuty Fellowship for Tribal College Faculty for research into Northern Cheyenne ledger art. An article co-authored with Ramon Powers on ledger art appears in Kansas History in 2012, and she directs four ledgers for the Plains Indian Ledger Art site (Univ. of Cal.-San Diego). PERSONAL. Denise Low is a 5thgeneration Kansan of mixed German, British, and unaffiliated Lenape (Delaware) Cherokee heritage. She grew up in the Flint Hills town of Emporia, where, in high school, she wrote a weekly column for the Emporia Gazette under William L. White. She lives with her husband Tom Weso in Lawrence, Kansas.

Education: Ph.D., English, University of Kansas. Dissertation Honors. Comprehensive examinations over American Indian literature, nonfiction prose, and Loren Eiseley; M.F.A., Creative Writing, Wichita State University, both poetry and fiction classes; M.A., English, University of Kansas, literature option; B.A., English, University of Kansas