Kenneth W. Brewer

Kenneth W. Brewer was born in Indianapolis, Indiana November 28, 1941 and died in Logan, Utah on March 15, 2006. He was Utah’s second poet laureate. Brewer attended Western New Mexico University as an undergraduate in the 1960s, and received his MA degree in English Literature from New Mexico State University. In 1973, he received his Ph.D. in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Utah. An American poet and scholar, Brewer was a longtime resident of Utah and Professor of English at Utah State University, where he taught for thirty-two years.

Brewer was a popular and influential Utah poet, who enjoyed promoting writers from across the state. Over the course of his three decades at Utah State University, Brewer published multiple collections of poetry, and hundreds of individual poems. According to his obituary in The Deseret News, Brewer saw himself as “an oral poet,” interested in writing about nature, as well as his own life. Before his death, Brewer collaborated with a team of artists across disciplines on the Lake Bonneville Project at Weber State University. His papers are housed in the Utah State University Library Special Collections.

On January 24, 2003, Utah Governor Michael O. Leavitt named Brewer the state’s poet laureate. Brewer’s proposed project during his term was to create a video archive of contemporary Utah writers, traveling across the state with video recorder in hand in order, in his words, “to videotape Utah writers where they write.” His hope was to create a long-lasting record for future scholars and teachers interested in writers in Utah and the American West; he died in 2006 from pancreatic cancer before this project could be completed.



Bibliography (partial)

  • Whale Song: A Poet’s Journey Into Cancer, Dream Garden Press, 2007.
  • Why Dogs Stopped Flying, Utah State University Press, 2006.
  • Small Scenes, 20 Woodcuts and 20 short poems, Limberlost Press, 2006. In collaboration with artist Royden Card.
  • The Place In Between, Limberlost Press, 1998.
  • Lake's Edge, Woodhedge Press, 1997.
  • Hoping for all, Dreading Nothing, Slanting Rain Press, 1994.
  • To Remember What is Lost, Utah State University Press, 1982.
  • The Collected Poems of Mongrel, Compost Press, 1981.
  • Round Again: A Cycle of Poems, published under a grant from the Utah Institute of Fine Arts, 1980.
  • Sum of Accidents, Chapbook Series, Alliance for the Varied Arts, 1977.
  • Places, Shadows, Dancing People, USU Monograph Series, Vol. XVII, No. 1, 1969, pp. 31–47, with Tom Lyons, Joyce Wood and Robert Wood.


Kenneth Wayne Brewer Papers, Utah State University Special Collections