Denise Low, Ph.D., is a former Poet Laureate of Kansas and winner of the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award, among other honors. She has taught creative writing at the University of Richmond and the University of Kansas, and she founded the creative writing program at Haskell Indian Nations University, where she taught 25 years. She now teaches for Baker University’s graduate and literature programs. She resides in Healdsburg, California.
Thanks to Poetry Unbound for the wonderful close reading of my poem “,” read and discussed by Pádraig Ó Tuama. The book it is published in, Mélange Block, is out of stock at SPD, but I have some copies to sell directly. Contact me at kansaspoetry [at] gmail [dot] com. This lovely letterpress image is by: Print by Myrna Keliher. Photography by Lucero Torres. © All Rights Reserved
New poetry is from Red Mountain Press, Wing: Imagined and real worlds intersect as lyric poet Denise Low dances between mortals and the dead, humans and animals, her European and Indigenous heritages. Real pandemics and wildfires set the stage as she illumines connections between the rational and intuitive. This former Poet Laureate of Kansas mourns the lost buffalo herds and celebrates the irresistible and beautiful material world of art, from Renaissance paintings to recent works by Nick Cave, Julie Buffalohead, and Peter Max. History is a living entity in the works: English lords court on teacups; a spirit woman walks Cimarron Breaks. Two hands and vestigial limbs—including wings—are tools for understanding the dualities of existence. Low’s rich work sings a healing song, knitting opposites together into a whole. Publication date:4/1/2021, Red Mountain Press ISBN978-1-952204-10-4; SKU #: F18A, 74 pages, 3 oz. Available at a discount from the author or from Small Press Distribution
- Now available: art history from the University of Nebraska Press, Northern Cheyenne Ledger Art by Fort Robinson Breakout Survivors, co-authored with Ramon Powers, pub date Nov. 1, 2020. Here is information and an interview: Indigenous Art As Powerful Resilience and Resistance: Insight from Denise Low | Lawrence Public Library (lplks.org)
- See the archival catalogue of Denise Low manuscripts and papers at the Kenneth Spencer Research and Special Collections Library, New American Poetry Collection,
- See Poetry Out Loud video clip and featured poems by Denise Low
Thank you to Shirley Braunlich for this review essay about Jackalope, A Casino Bestiary, and Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival.
Shadow Light: Poems, winner of the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award, SPD Recommended book
SHADOW LIGHT shifts poetics into the natural world–laws of optics. Words are lenses to sort lineages—Lenape (Delaware), European, Cherokee—into harmony. This beautiful assemblage uses inter-textual dialogues, silences, and explosions of images to celebrate an unlikely personal and historical survival.
“Denise Low’s SHADOW LIGHT extends her poetics to the realm of natural magic: Lyric embedded with Story. History embedded with Myth. English challenged with Native languages. Imagery enriched with Sound. Pop Culture meshed with ritual Culture. The built Environment genuflecting to the natural Environment. SHADOW LIGHT is masterful poetry.”—Jeanetta Calhoun Mish
Online discount for Moods in Poetry: A Guidebook for Writers, (retail $16.95) for $11 email mammothpubs@gmail; snail mail 1916 Stratford Rd., Lawrence, KS 66044 or order here:
PayPal for single copies, Multiple copies Email See book details on this site.
Spartan Press of Kansas City ONLY A FEW COPIES REMAIN of this small-run edition. Keven Rabas, Poet Laureate of Kansas: “A Casino Bestiary continues Denise Low’s exploration of the frontier West, what it means for Indigenous and settler citizens, its myths and boundaried realities. This is the most personal of Low’s books, full of wit, sting, surprise.Denise Low-Weso, a prolific polymath, is the author of 25 books of poetry and prose. She has a poet’s heart and a scholar’s mind, and she sounds the depths of where she’s researched and been and lived, capturing moments [in Casino Bestiary] with Wm S. Burroughs, Thelonious Monk, and rooms of ghosts.”
Story from Jackalope (Red Mountain Press) airs on High Plains Public Radio “Jackalope Walks into a Truck Stop.”
Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-2009, is award-winning author of 25 books of poetry and prose. She does individual consulting and editing, as well as professional workshops. Low is co-publisher of Mammoth Publications ,an independent small literary press specializing in Indigenous and Mid-Plains poetry and prose. Her poetry blog has over 400 entries, and she reviews poetry for the Kansas City Star and other venues. She teaches in the Baker University School of Professional and Graduate Studies.
The University of Nebraska Press published a memoir about her Native grandfather in 2017: Bison Books-The Turtle’s Beating Heart. Kirkus Reviews writes: “An engagingly written mix of research, reportage, and memoir, infused with the passion of discovery.” Library Journal writes: “Readers interested in the 20th-century American Indian experience will find this to be a valuable account.” In the Minn. Star-Tribune Pamela Miller writes: Low does Americans with Indian ancestry a valuable service by illuminating the unique and often terrible circumstances and choices their forebears faced.” In Forward Reviews Letitia Montgomery Rodgers writes: “An accomplished poet, Low’s well-honed prose flows with lyric intensity. In Kansas, a place ‘where eternity has a real valence,’ she searches for documentary evidence of her ancestors’ passage through history and for the timeless threads of culture—familial and tribal—that could offer an unbroken legacy.”
A book of short fiction, Jackalope, is from Red Mountain Press (Santa Fe, 2016), also available from Small Press Distribution or this website: PAY PAL – JACKALOPE. See a video of Jackalope reading in KC. Cream City Review nominated Low’s flash fiction piece “A Jackalope Walks into an Indian Bar” for a Pushcart Prize.
Her book of poetry Melange Block (Red Mountain Press 2014), explores geological scales of elegies, celebrations, and American Indian and European histories. She has won three Kansas Notable Book awards, five Pushcart Prize nominations, the Lichtor Poetry Prize, fellowships from the Ks. Arts Commission, The Newberry Library and the NEH, and Roberts Foundation Poetry Prize, 2nd place.
Online publications are an essay on the poet Ronald Johnson, an essay on the Black Mountain-related poet Kenneth Irby in Jacket2, an online chapbook In the Direction of North with paintings by Thomas Pecore Weso and new poems, Numero Cinq, May, 2016. Excerpts from Melange Block are featured on the We Wanted To Be Writers website. An interview is in the Museum of Americana literary journal. See her Poetry Foundation biography and sample poems; and Academy of American Poets biography.