Louis Burke Jenkins
On December 21, 2019, the Winter Solstice, Louis left us peacefully seeking the return of the light.
He was 77. Born in Oklahoma City. he grew up in Stafford, KS and Enid, OK. He lived in Duluth, MN for 46 years. His life was poetry. He became well-known as the master of the prose poem, publishing 19 books. He was the co-author, with Mark Rylance, of the very successful play Nice Fish. Survived by wife of 48 years, Ann, son Lars (Amy), granddaughters Iris and Clio, sisters Dianne Mathis and Annette Gariepy, and many others who will miss him so very much. His papers will be added to the U of MN Archives.
Louis Burke Jenkins (October 28, 1942 – December 21, 2019) was an American prose poet. He lived in Duluth, Minnesota, with his wife Ann for over four decades, beginning in 1971. He also lived in Bloomington, Minnesota. His poems have been published in a number of literary magazines and anthologies. Jenkins was a guest on A Prairie Home Companion numerous times and was also featured on The Writer’s Almanac and on the Northern Lights TV Series.
Louis Burke Jenkins was born October 28, 1942 in Enid, Oklahoma to Burke Jenkins and Genevieve (née Webring). He attended Wichita State University from 1967 to 1969. Jenkins married Sandra Brashear in 1963, divorcing in 1968, and then married librarian Ann Jacobson in 1970,
relocating to Minnesota in 1971. He has a son named Lars. Jenkins died at his home in Bloomington on December 21, 2019, at age 77.
Literary awards and honors:
Louis Jenkins’ book, Nice Fish, was winner of the Minnesota Book Award in 1995, and his book Just Above Water won the Northeastern Minnesota Book Award in 1997. Jenkins was a featured poet at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in 1996 and at the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in England in 2007. He was a Bush Foundation Fellow in 1979 and 1984. He also was honored with the George Morrison award and Loft-McKnight Fellowship.
Acting and work with Mark Rylance
Actor Mark Rylance recited works by Jenkins in lieu of formal acceptance speeches after winning a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for the play Boeing-Boeing in 2008 and after winning his Tony Award for the play Jerusalem in 2011. Rylance then transformed Jenkins’ poetry into the play Nice Fish, and Jenkins played Old Man Winter in a production of that play at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2016. Jenkins also appeared in the minor role of Earl in the 2016 film Blood Stripe and as a therapist in the 1964 film Lilith.