Nebraska Authors

Don Welch

AKA: Donovan L.

Born 1932-06-03 Hastings, NE (USA)

Died 2016-08-06
Kearney, NE

Don Welch was Reynolds Chair of Poetry, Martin Professor of English and a much loved fixture at the University of Nebraska-Kearney for decades. A Nebraska icon, he inspired students and readers of his poetry to master the English language and to eloquently and creatively express themselves. His close friends included Nebraska poets Ted Kooser and Bill Kloefkorn, with whom he shared some common themes and concerns. Bill Kloefkorn wrote that "Don Welch moves among the poor like a modern day Whitman who has mastered the fine art of pruning…With a minimum of words he evokes a maximum of feelings and sympathies. The rest of us need the poet's words to bring us those places we have neither the time nor the courage to explore." Welch himself wrote that most of his values were "inherited from those who survived the Dust Bowl and from the world of athletics before it went to hell."

Places Lived

Kearney, NE
Gothenburg, NE
Columbus, NE
Nelson, NE
Callaway, NE

Author Of

  • Poetry




Bachelor of Arts Degree, 1954, Kearney State College, Kearney, NE
Master of Arts Degree, 1958, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO
Ph.D., 1965, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE


High School and College Teacher
Professor of English and Philosophy
Poet in Residence in the Public Schools--25 years

Places Worked

Nebraska Arts Council (poet)
University of Nebraska-Kearney
Ft. Morgan, CO
Gothenburg, NE


John H. Ames Reading Series, Featured Reader, 19 April 1984, 16 May 1991 and 18 November 2004
Nebraska Arts Council Poet-in-Residence, 1975-86
Poet-in-Residence at UNK, 1979
Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, 1980
Blue Unicorn Prizes for Poetry, 1983, 1987
Nebraska Review Prize for Poetry, 1987
Elkhorn Review Prize for Poetry, 1989
Reynolds Professorship at UNK, 1987-97
Pratt-Heius Award for Teaching Excellence
University of Nebraska-Kearney Honored at the Nebraska Literature Festival, 2001
Pendragon Prize for Poetry
Martin Professor of English- UNK
Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben Honor for Teaching Excellence


Dead Horse Table. 1975.
Handwork. 1978.
The Rarer Game. 1980.
Keeper of Miniature Deer. 1986.
Voice of the Plains. 1989. (audio cassettes series)
Ordinary Mysteries.
The Breeder of Archangels. 1991.
The Platte River. 1992.
The Marginalist and Other Poems. 1992.
Carved By Obadiah Verity. 1993.
A Day Book. 1993.
A Man in Love With the Wind.
A Brief History of Feathers. 1996.
Every Mouth of Autumn Says Goodbye. 1996.
The Cranes: A Books of Hours. 1996.
Never Write in a Glass House. 1997.
In the Fields' Hands. Inklings: Poems Old and New. 2001.
A Shape a Writer Can Contain. 1979. (Composition handbook. NE State Department of Education)
On Common Ground. 1986. (poems and interview)
The King Bird. 1990.
Four Elemental Odes. 1992.
The Words Which Marry You to Me. 1995.
Fire's Tongue in the Candle's End. 1996.
Wellsprings. 1996. (with five other Nebraska poets)
The Plain Sense of Things. 1997. (with 7 other poets)
The Breeder of Archangels.
Reguiem for Stanley Smith. 1999.
The Yarn Bin. 2001.
Inklings. 2001.
The Alley Poems. 2002.
Gutter Flowers. 2005.
When Memory Gives Dust a Face. 2008.
Deliberations. 2012.
Homing: The Collected Poems of Don Welch. 2015.
Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology, 1867-2017. 2017. (Contributor.)

May 1991 Ames Reading Series presentation:

November 2004 Ames Reading Series presentation:

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Don Welch

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(e.g. Author is buried in Fremont, not in David City / Also wrote for the Daily Nebraskan during her time as a student)