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Background Image Denise Low

Denise Low

2007-2009 Poet Laureate of Kansas 

Denise Low is the 2007-2009 Poet Laureate of Kansas. She grew up in the Flint Hills of Kansas, descended from British Isles, German, and Native (Delaware and Cherokee) peoples. She has over 20 published books of poetry, personal essays, and scholarship, including Natural Theologies (The Backwaters Press, 2011) and Ghost Stories: Poems (Woodley 2010 and Kansas Notable Book Award Winner). For over 25 years she taught at Haskell Indian Nations University, and she has been visiting professor at the University of Kansas and University of Richmond. She has awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Sequoyah National Research Center, Lannan Foundation, The Newberry Library, Academy of American Poets, and Kansas Arts Commission. Her academic books include prose about Native and settler literatures of the middle plains region. She is 2011-2012 president of the national board of the Associated Writers & Writing Programs. She maintains a website and a writing-related blog. Dr. Low holds bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in English from the University of Kansas and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Wichita State University. She has published ten books of poetry and essays and received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Lannan Foundation, Kansas Arts Commission, Poetry Society of America, and others. She also publishes reviews and articles about poetry and American Indian Literature. She is the winner of the 2018 Red Mountain Press Editor's Choice Award for Shadow Light. Other books are The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival, a memoir (U. of Nebraska Press) and A Casino Bestiary: Poems (Spartan Press). She co-edits Mammoth Publications, an independent literary press with a focus on Indigenous authors. She edited a selection of poems by William Stafford in an edition with essays by other poets and scholars, Kansas Poems of William Stafford (Woodley). She has won 3 Kansas Notable Book Awards, 5 Pushcart Prize nominations, and a 2017 Best of the Net nomination. She teaches for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies. She is a discussion leader with Humanities Kansas's TALK program

Dr. Low followed the lead of the first Poet Laureate of Kansas, Jonathan Holden, adding to the Kansas Poets website, created by Greg German, to engage writers and readers of Kansas poetry. In addition, she wrote a weekly column featuring a Kansas poet for the website, free to Kansas schools, libraries, and arts organizations, Ad Astra Project. This column was also emailed out widely as an electronic broadsheet, and gathered into a book To The Stars: Kansas Poets of the Ad Astra Poetry Project. She also launched web-based poetry contests for National Poetry Month, and highlighted many poetry activities and poets on her blog. 


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