WING: Poems by Denise Low (2021)


From Red Mountain Press (Seattle/Santa Fe) Wing: Poems. ISBN978-1-952204-10-4; SKU #: F18A, 74 pages, 3 oz. Available at a discount from the author! 

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

“Wing extends Low’s career-length exploration of the spiritual relationship between Native inhabitants, the land, and mainstream culture. This theme underpins but does not restrict the scope of Low’s writing, which interrogates broader aspects of Western life, culture, family, art, and loss. Her family history and lived experience as an American of mixed Native and European heritage illumine an adaptive culture that has been maligned by Hollywood and Western Portrayal. Low references but does not dwell on genocide, broken treaties, forced marches, ecological mismanagement, greed, and outright theft. Rather, she shows that Native culture commingles, endures, and thrives in surprising ways that are invisible to the uninitiated.”

~Jemshed Khan, New Letters “Saxellus: A Review of Denise Low’s Wing,” by J. Khan – New Letters

Denise Low writes places, events, frustrations, and joys that are felt in nail bed and hair root. “Pray to the gods of gravity to untangle chaos”. I don’t know for certain where the keratin of human meets the keratin of dark feathers, but it may be that in the smoke of wildfires and pandemic the stubborn shapeshift just enough and know each other more clearly. Denise is a writer I come back to again and again. Read Wing and you may understand why.

—K Shuck, 7th Poet Laureate of San Francisco

Denise Low makes poems of striking verticality. There are fault lines and scored buffalo bones beneath them, sand crab holes bubbling at their toes. They breathe wildfire smoke and are touched from above by a buzzard’s shadow. When they sleep, they go to the stars for instruction. Go to Wing for instruction; every poem in it is a core sample of our humanity.

—Eric McHenry, Kansas Poet Laureate emeritus