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 Endomwent 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 a bachelor’s master’s 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 a discussion leader with the Kansas Humanities Council’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 as 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 Poetry Month, and highlighted many poetry activities and poets on her blog.