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Creative Writing Program


Denise Low

Denise Low

Kansas' Second Poet Laureate, Denise Low, Ph.D., is Dean of Arts and Humanities at Haskell Indian Nations University, where she also teaches creative writing and American Indian Studies courses.  Her book, Words of a Prairie Alchemist, a collection of essays, was published by Ice Cube Press (2006). A poem collection, Thailand Journal, was named a notable book of 2003 by The Kansas City Star, and her book, New & Selected Poems, 1980-1999, was published by Penthe Press.  She also edited Wakarusa Wetlands in Word & Image for the Lawrence Arts Center’s imagination & Place Committee (2005).

Included below are selected works by the visiting writer.

 

Starwater

 

Nursing my first baby

I drank eight glasses of water,

two quarts each day.  He grew.

I felt like a carrier for water,

passing it on through to the child,

and some day his child, too,

will fatten, remarkable

like peaches and muskmelons

leaching juice from bare dirt.

Astronomers tell us star dust

once swirled together,

cooled into rocks and water

and still ciculates,

the same matter pulled into stars

and Earth and into our flesh.

So water travels the skies,

stretches into clouds,

and falls, moving ever East

circling, the same ancient water

caught in the whirlwind

binding us all together—

gravity, or maybe

as we know, love,

or water drawing together all its kin.

(First published in Starwater by Cottonwood Press in 1988).

 

Spring Geese

 

Not one tidy vee

but a whole complex of angles

branching off each other

like a genealogy.

Spring, not fall,

and this is Kansas,

not the northern wood.

Not a magazine cover

of migrating geese

but their honking chorus

spread across the southern horizon

stays in my ears for day.

(First published in Spring Geese and Other Poems by
Univeristy of Kansas Natural History Museum Publications in 1984).