Dennis Schmitz

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Dennis Schmitz (born August 11, 1937 Dubuque, Iowa) is an American poet.


He grew up in Dubuque, Iowa.[1] He graduated from Loras College and the University of Chicago. He married Loretta D'Agostino in 1960; they have five children togetehr. He taught at Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee[2] and California State University, Sacramento.[3] His students include Raymond Carver,[4] Charlene Ungstad and[5] Gary Short,[6] and Gary Thompson.[7]

He opposes the death penalty and protests executions in California every time they take place.[8][9]

His work has appeared in the Alaska Quarterly Review,[10] American Poetry Review, The Nation, Paris Review,[11] the Chicago Review[12] and Zyzzyva.[13]

He lives in Sacramento.[14]




  • Animism (Oberlin College Press, 2014)
  • The Truth Squad (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)
  • About Night: Selected and New Poems (Oberlin College Press, 1993)
  • Eden (University of Illinois Press, 1989)
  • Singing (Ecco Press, 1985)
  • String (Ecco Press, 1980)
  • Goodwill, Inc (1976)
  • Double Exposures (1971)
  • We Weep for Our Strangeness (1969)


  • Dennis Schmitz (ed.). The Sacramento Anthology of 100 Poems. Sacramento’s Poet Laureate Program; Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission. 


Schmitz is the kind of poet whose work is unknown to the general public but eagerly read by other writers in top literary magazines like Field or Antaeus. In this volume, he continues the exciting work he has already done with dramatic monologues and religious meditations set on California farms or in the construction sites, flophouses, and movie palaces of Chicago.[17]


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