Maurice Kenny, Mohawk, was born in Watertown, NY in 1929. Educated at Butler University, St. Lawrence University, and New York University where he studied with eminent American poet Louise Bogan. Over the years, Kenny moved from Mexico to the Virgin Islands to Chicago to Brooklyn and eventually, back to his home in the Adirondack country of upstate New York.
He has been the co-editor of the literary review magazine Contact/II, editor of Adirondac Magazine, and editor and publisher of Strawberry Press. He has also been poet-in-residence at North Country Community College and visiting professor at the University of Oklahoma at Norman, the En’owkin Center at the University of Victoria, and Paul Smith's College.
Among nearly 100 different journals he has been published in, Kenny has been featured in Trends, The Scottish Journal from Paisley College, the Calaloo, World Literature Today, American Indian Quarterly, Blue Cloud Quarterly, Wicazo Sa Review, Saturday Review, and the New York Times.
Kenny has also been involved in radio, television, and film productions such as 1990’s Dug-Out, commissioned by New American Radio, Reno Hill…Little Big Horn, written especially for John Rouillard and NBC-TV for the Custer Centennial, composed and voiced the animated film Handing The Baton by Judy Fogelman and the Museum of Modern Art, and appeared on Poems, Poets and the Song with Charles Osgood on CBS-TV.
Among the panels on which he has served are the New York Foundation for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, the New York State Council on the Arts and the Arts Recognition and Talent Search for the Educational Testing Service. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines, the New York foundation for the Arts, and WSLU-FM. He has coordinated the Iroquois Arts Festival, Writers Week at Tupper Lake, and been director of the Little Gallery and most currently, the Blue Moon Cafe.
In 2000, Maurice received the Elder Recognition Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers In 1996 On Second Thought was a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award in fiction.
Maurice's book of poems, Blackrobe : Isaac Jogues, B. March 11, 1607, D. October 18, 1646 was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, as was Between Two Rivers. He is the recipient of a National Public Radio Award for Broadcasting. His book The Mama Poems received the American Book Award in 1984. The Bloomsbury Review cited Wounds Beneath the Flesh as the best anthology of 1983.
Maurice has held residencies at the American Indian Community House in New York City, the Oneida Indian Nation of Wisconsin, the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, Gettysburg College and St. Lawrence University, and been a guest speaker and featured writer innumerable times. His most recent residencies include the Silver Bay Association (The Writer's Voice), supported by the Bingham and Lannan Foundations, a NYSCA Writer Residency at the Syracuse Community Writers and a residency in "Women's Studies / Creative Writing" at SUNY Fredonia, NY.
Maurice has also been honored with an honorary doctorate by St. Lawrence University in 1995.