Jonathan Holden

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Jonathan Holden, the first Poet Laureate of Kansas, is a Professor of English at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. Chosen in 2004, his two-year term began July 1, 2005. He was succeeded by Denise Low on July 1, 2007.


Holden was born in 1941 in Morristown, New Jersey. He received a B.A. in English from Oberlin College in 1963. From 1963 to 1965, he was an editorial assistant for Cambridge Book Company in Bronxville, New Jersey. He then taught math at a high school in West Orange, New Jersey until 1968. In 1970, he received an M.A. in creative writing from San Francisco State College. He received a Ph D in English from the University of Colorado in 1974. From 1974 to 1978, he was " poet-in-residence at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. He moved to Manhattan, Kansas in 1978 where he joined Kansas State University. There he became "poet in residence" and University Distinguished Professor of English. In 1991, he became Thursten P. Morton Professor at the University of Louisville. In 2000, he served on the Pulitzer Prize poetry selection committee. In 2004, the governor appointed him poet laureate, with his term beginning the following July 1, 2005.

As Poet Laureate[edit]

During his tenure as Kansas Poet Laureate, Holden instigated a statewide video teleconf program titled SHOPTALK, in conjunction with Kansas State University’s TELENET 2 program.[1] SHOPTALK provided insight to poetry and poetry writing; the program provided a platform for Mr. Holden to have interactive poetry discussions with a live audience.[1] Several notable Kansas poets appeared as guests on the program.[1]

As Poet Laureate, Holden was also active as an advisor for "", a website specifically dedicated to Kansas poets and poetry.[2] As well, Holden was guest editor for The Midwest Quarterly.[3] The particular issue cited features over 60 Kansas poets plus special recognition to both Jonathan Holden and Denise Low. The issue received a very positive review from Literary Magazine Review (V. 25 Nos. 3 & 4 Fall & Winter), Jennifer Brantley, editor.

Publications and awards[edit]

Jonathan Holden has published 18 books, all monographs, in addition to more than 190 poems published in professional journals.


  • Design for a House, U. of Missouri Press, 1972
  • The Mark to Turn: A Reading of William Stafford's Poetry, University Press of Kansas, 1976.
  • The Rhetoric of the Contemporary Lyric, Indiana University Press, 1980.
  • Leverage (poems), University Press of Virginia, 1983
  • Falling from Stardom (poems), Carnegie-Mellon U. Press, 1984.
  • The Names of the Rapids, U. of Mass Press, 1985.
  • Style and Authenticity of Postmodern Poetry, U. of Missouri Press, 1986.
  • Landscapes of the Self: The Development of Richard Hugo's Poetry, Associated Faculty Press, 1986.
  • Against Paradise (poems), U. of Utah Press, 1990.
  • The Fate of American Poetry, U. of Georgia Press, 1991
  • American Gothic (poems), U. of Georgia Press, 1992.
  • Brilliant Kids (a novel), U. of Utah Press, 1992.
  • The Sublime (poems), U. of North Texas Press, 1995.
  • Guns and Boyhood in America, U. of Michigan Press, 1997.
  • The Old Formalism: Character in Contemporary American Poetry, U. of Arkansas Press, 1999.
  • Knowing: New and Selected Poems, U. of Arkansas Press, 2000.
  • Mama's Boys: A Double Life, Lewis-Clark Press, 2007




  1. ^ a b c, SHOPTALK
  2. ^
  3. ^, The Midwest Quarterly], a Journal of Contemporary Thought, Pittsburg State University, editor Stephen Meats, (Summer, 2007 V. XLVIII, No. 4) Dedicated to Kansas poets and poetry
  4. ^, University of Massachusetts Press, 1985 Junniper Award Winner for The Names of the Rapids, Retrieved 10-07-2008

Further reading[edit]

  • Buchanan, Carl Jay (2003). The Poetry of Contemporary American Poet Jonathan Holden. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press. ISBN 0-7734-6630-4.

External links[edit]