Denise Sweet

Denise Sweet

Denise Sweet is faculty emerita, having taught Humanistic Studies, Creative Writing, and First Nations Studies for the UW-System. She has performed in theater and film productions (both a full-length feature and various documentaries), and has given over 100 readings in North and Central America, Canada and Europe.  Her books of poetry include Know By Heart (Rhiannon Press), Songs For Discharming (Greenfield Press), Days Of Obsidian, Days Of Grace (Poetry Harbor), and Nitaawichige (Poetry Harbor; the latter a four-author collection).  In 1998, Songs For Discharging won both the WI Posner Award for Poetry, and the Diane Decorah Award, given by the North American Indigenous Writers Circle of the Americas  Her most recent book of new and selected poems, Palominos Near Tuba City (Holy Cow! Press) was released in April 2018.  


Other distinctions:  her poem, “Veteran’s Dance: After Oklahoma City” took second place in Sante Fe Indian Market’s 1st annual Poetry Competition.  In 2006, the International Crane Foundation commissioned Sweet to author a poem for the organization, eventually titled, “All The Animals Came Singing.”  Additionally, her poem, “Constellations” is part of a permanent etched installation at the Midwest Express Center in Milwaukee, WI. In 1998, Sweet was one of five North American tribal writers sponsored by the U.S. Embassy to attend the 1st Annual World Congress on Indigenous Literature of the Americas held in Guatemala City, GUATE.  In 2004, Gov. James Doyle appointed Sweet as WI’s Poet Laureate (4-year term); the 2nd laureate named for the state of Wisconsin.


Her works of poetry and fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals such as Cream City Review, Calyx, Akwekon, Sinister Wisdom, Yellow Medicine Review, Yakhiko la’tuse? (“She Tells Us Stories”), Another Chicago Magazine, Recreating The Enemy’s Language (ed. Joy Harjo), Plainswoman, Returning The Gift (ed. Joseph Bruchac), Brave In The Face Of Danger (ed. Beth Brant), Traces In Blood, Bone And Stone: Ojibwa Poetry, Stories Migrating Home (ed. Kimberley Blaeser) and others.  Palominos Near Tuba City is her 5th collection, released in April 2018.  As Those With Faith Will Do: A Memoir is Sweet’s current works-in-progress.

Recent Book
Palominos Near Tuba City