Nebraska Authors

Mary K. Stillwell

Born 1944 Omaha, NE (USA)

Born in Omaha, Mary K. Stillwell studied writing in New York with William Packard and on the Great Plains with Ted Kooser. She earned her PhD in plains literature, has published widely, and co-edited Nebraska Presence, an anthology of contemporary Nebraska poets (Backwaters). Her books include Moving to Malibu (Sandhills Press, 1989), The Life and Poetry of Ted Kooser (University of Nebraska Press, 2013), Fallen Angels (Finishing Line Press, 2013), and Maps & Destinations (SFA Press, 2014). Her Kooser biography is the major scholarly biography of the poet.

Places Lived

Omaha, NE
Falls City, NE
New York
Lincoln, NE

Author Of

  • Nonfiction
  • Play/Screenplay
  • Poetry


Poetry; Prose; Literary Criticism; Literary Biography; Ted Kooser; Plays


Bachelor of Arts, St. Mary College
Master of Arts, University of Nebraska - Omaha
PhD, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Assistant Director of Public Affairs, New York University
Director, Marketing and Communications, Long Island University
Teaching Assistant, UNL


John H. Ames Reading Series, Featured Reader, 20 September 2001, 16 January 2011 and 20 October 2013
Nebraska 150 Books honor for Nebraska Presence, 2017
Richard H. Larson Fellowship, 2000-2001 and 2001-2002
American Academy of Poetry Wilber Gaffney Prize, UNL, 1999
Presidential Graduate Fellow, UNO, 1997-98
Center for Great Plains Study Research Fellowship, 1996-97
UNO Sponsored Projects Grant for Research, 1996-97
2006 Nebraska Arts Council Merit Award for poetry
Work chosen for short-play lab at the Great Plains Theater Conference, 2007


Partial listing only:
Moving to Malibu. 1988.
Crazy Woman Creek: Women Rewrite the American West. 2004. (contributor)
Times of Sorrow, Times of Grace. 2007. (contributor)
Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry. 2007. (co-editor with Greg Kosmicki)
The Burden. (Play read at the 2007 Great Plains Theater Conference)
The Life and Poetry of Ted Kooser. 2013.
Fallen Angels. 2013.
Maps and Destinations.
Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology, 1867-2017. 2017. (Contributor)

Poetry published in anthologies:
"Winter Song" in Leaning Into the Wind
"Thursday Morning," "This Small World," and "The Waltz" in Decade to Dance
"Dachau" in Blood to Remember
"Travel Plans" in The Paris Review Anthology.

Individual poems published in over 50 journals.

Mary K. Stillwell has been an Ames Reading Series featured author several times:

September 2001:

April 2017:

Her October 2013 appearance begins at the 45 minute mark in the video:

Her January 2011 presentation begins at 43 minutes and 48 seconds in the video:

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Mary K. Stillwell

Do you have corrections for the above information or other information to add?:

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