Denise Banker
Denise Banker is the recipient of an Executive Director’s Guest Fellowship from Civitella Ranieri Foundation Umbertide, Italy; was awarded the Gaffney/Academy of American Poets Award, the Louise VanSickle Award, and the Dudley Bailey Fellowship while she was earning a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her work has recently appeared in The ALAN Review, Prairie Schooner, TheMidwest Quarterly, Natural Bridge, dirtcakes, literature and art in (re)spite of, and in several anthologies. She has taught English and creative writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Concordia University, Nebraska; and served as publicist for Copper Canyon Press. Currently, she is a bookseller at William James Booksellers in Port Townsend, Washington. 

Denise Banker's poems have an uncanny ability to be at once soothing and rattling, to speak to us like an old, long-loved friend while also lifting us from our comfort zones and tossing us to parts unknown. They chart a course that ranges from unfathomable grief to bright . I won't be prying myself loose from them anytime soon. -  Meghan Daum, Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House

The poems in Denise Banker's Swimming the Colorado are filled with possibility and loss. Banker is haunted by "the dark wings of the dead," "the past's flat skirts blooming / in a swirl of air," and aches that "refuse to be kept down," but never loses her "ambition to feel." Sometimes swimming hard against currents - both literal and metaphoric - sometimes drawn to the shore by "borrowed light," Banker holds fast to that ambition. Denise Banker is a poet who promises to get "nothing but stronger." - Grace Bauer, Retreats and Recognitions; Beholding Eye

Denise Banker has produced a truly elegant work. The poem titles alone make you want to read every page, carefully, several times, making sure you catch the nuances, make the connections with your own life and memories, and wonder how much of this imagery comes from her own experiences and how much from her observations of others. She has captured, as only a poet can, the subtle richness of life in an arid land. - John Janovy, Jr. Keith County Journal; Dumwoody Pond

Opening to these lifetime poems, I felt refreshed and touched keenly as well, humanly: brisk, telling word-moments livening every part of speech, gifting us the present tense, stopping on the edge of recognition, passion blent in the dazzling exact presence of flora, fauna too, until the verse terns terser, abraded, true.  - John Felstiner, Translating Neruda: The Way to Macchu Picchu; Paul Celan: Poet, Survivor, Jew; Can Poetry Save the Earth? : A Field Guide to Nature Poems

And check out this new review of Denise’s book at