Gordon Henry


C621 Wells Hall
619 Red Cedar Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824

FacultyEnglishAmerican Indian and Indigenous Studies

Leslie Endowed Chair in Literary Studies, American Indian and Indigenous Studies

Department of English


Gordon Henry is an enrolled member of the White Earth Anishinaabe Nation in Minnesota.

Dr. Henry is also the Inaugural Audrey and John Leslie Endowed Chair in North American Indian and Indigenous Literary Studies and a Professor in the English Department at Michigan State University, where he teaches American Indian Literature, Creative Writing and the Creative Process, in Integrative Arts and Humanities.

He serves as Senior Editor of the American Indian Studies Series (and the series sub-imprint Mukwa Enewed) at Michigan State University Press. Under his editorship the AISS has published research and creative work by an array of scholars, working in a variety of disciplines, related to the larger field of American Indian Studies.

Seven years ago, while serving as Director of the Native American Institute at Michigan State, he founded, along with Ellen Cushman, the Native American Youth Film Institute. As an offshoot of that project Professor Henry is working with the NAI and the Michigan Inter-Tribal Council, on Indigistory, a community based digital storytelling project.

Gordon is also a published poet and fiction writer. In 1995 he received an American Book Award for his novel the Light People and his poetry, fiction and essays have been published extensively, in the U.S. and Europe. In 2004, he co-published an educational reader on Ojibwe people with George Cornell. In 2007, Henry published a mixed-genre collection, titled The Failure of Certain Charms, with Salt Publishing, out of the U.K. He also co-edited a collection of essays on American Indian Literature, titled Stories through Theory <->Theory through Stories in 2009. In 2018 he published a co-edited volume of graphic literature, titled Not (Just) (An)other. Also, in 2018, his collection The Failure of Charms was translated into Catalan, as El Fracas de Certs Encanteris, for Balandra Ediciones, in Valencia, Spain. This past fall (2019) the University of New England Press released Afterlives of Indigenous Archives, co-edited by Gordon and Dartmouth Professor Ivy Schweitzer. Gordon’s poetry, fiction and critical writing has been published extensively internationally. His writing has appeared in journals and anthologies, in translation, in Spain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the U.K. and Germany.

Professor Henry was appointed Gordon Russell, Visiting Professor at Dartmouth College in each of the past two years. While there he taught courses in Re-mapping Tribal Narratives, the American Indian Novel, Indian Country Today and Digital Storytelling.

Professor Henry is also co-Pi on a strategic planning grant dedicated to a Center for Anishinaabe Languages, Literature and Storytelling. He is also serving as Community Coordinator on an MSU Mellon grant geared to producing, language programs, activities and curriculum in Anishinaabe communities.


ENG210: Introduction to the Study of English

ENG228: Introduction to Fiction Writing

ENG354: Native American Literature

ENG428: Advanced Fiction Writing

ENG476: American Authors


The Failure of Certain Charms and Other Disparate Signs of Life. London: Salt Press.

Co-ed. Stories Thru Theories / Theories Thru Stories: North American Indian Writing, Storytelling and Critique. Nieves Pascual Soler and Silvia Martinez Falquina, coeditors. Michigan State University Press, 2007.

“The Silver Saxophone, Masks of Pain and the People in the Hills.” Pembroke Magazine. Ed. Jesse Peters. University of North Carolina Pembroke, 2006.

“The Failure of Certain Charms,” “Song for Sisters Who Won’t Let Go,” “Remembering Shadow: The Art of Not Crying,” and “Dodem Dream Song.” Traces in Blood, Bone and Stone: Contemporary Ojibwa Poetry. Ed. Kimberly Blaeser. Bemidji, Minnesota: Loonfeather Press, 2006.

“Sonny’s Wake 2000,” “Simple Four Part Directions for Making Indian Lit,” “October Minnehaha Avenue,” and “Directions to the Sovereign of Entelechy.” Topos: Indigenous Americas: Poetry by Indigenous Peoples of the Western Hemisphere. Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon State University, 2006.

The Ojibway. (George Cornell, co-author). Ed. Kenneth Macintosh. North American Indians. Masoncrest Publishing, 2004.

“Harold LaMasque: Via Creativa” and “Spider Charm Variations.” Cream City Review (2003).

“The Prisoner of Haiku.” Children of the Dragonfly. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2002.

“Entries into the Autobiographical I.” Here First. Ed. Arnold Krupat. New York: Random House, 2000.

The Light People. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994. Reprinted by Michigan State University Press, 2003.

University News

Gordon Henry’s Legacy and Career Celebrated with Indigenous Literature and Song
Published November 29, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
Gordon Henry, Professor in the Department of English and the inaugural Audrey and John Leslie Endowed Chair in North American Indian and Indigenous Literary Studies, will retire from Michigan State…Read now »
English Major Reflects on MSU Education as She Prepares to Graduate
Published May 2, 2023 in College of Arts & Letters
Katie Burkhardt is graduating from Michigan State University in Spring 2023 with a B.A. in English. She is a member of the Honors College and would eventually like to pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology….Read now »
MSU’s Canadian Studies Center Receives Grant from Québec Government
Published August 23, 2022 in College of Arts & Letters
The MSU Canadian Studies Center received a $40,000 grant from the Québec government and university-matched funds to strengthen interuniversity relationships. Faculty from Michigan State…Read now »
Conversations with CAL featuring Gordon Henry and Contemporary American Indian Poetry
Published May 12, 2022 in College of Arts & Letters
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBHGmcLGbO0 The College of Arts & Letters hosted a conversation with Department of English Professor Gordon Henry, titled “Living Nations, Living Words:…Read now »
Gordon Henry Appointed to New Endowed Chair Position
Published October 5, 2021 in College of Arts & Letters
An enrolled citizen/member of the White Earth Anishinaabe Nation, Gordon Henry has dedicated his writing, scholarship, and life to Indigenous tribal communities. In recognition of this work, he has…Read now »
Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry Events Scheduled for Nov. 19 and 20
Published November 9, 2020 in College of Arts & Letters
Cropped portion of the Flyer for the Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry Event
The Department of English Creative Writing Program is pleased to co-host editors and contributors of The Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry. Online readings and panel discussions will…Read now »
Less Commonly Taught and Indigenous Languages the Focus of $2.5 Million Grant
Published July 22, 2019 in College of Arts & Letters
The word "Language" is highlighted in pink
Michigan State University was awarded a four-year, $2.5 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support further development in the research and teaching of less commonly…Read now »
Indigistory Receives Distinguished Partnership Award
Published March 7, 2018 in College of Arts & Letters
image of two women and two men at awards ceremony, holding awards
Gordon Henry, Professor in MSU’s Department of English, is among a group that recently received the Distinguished Partnership Award for Community-Engaged Creative Activity presented at the…Read now »
Gordon Henry Receives MSU Distinguished Partnership Award
Published November 27, 2017 in College of Arts & Letters
portrait of a man with brown hair and glasses
Gordon Henry, John Norder, and Christie Poitra have received the 2017 Michigan State University Distinguished Partnership Award for Community-Engaged Creative Activities from the MSU Office of…Read now »