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Michael Collier

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Professor, English

(301) 405-3819

3103 Tawes Hall
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Research Expertise

Creative Writing

Michael Collier is the author of seven books of poems: The Clasp and Other Poems; The Folded Heart; The Neighbor; The Ledge, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Dark Wild Realm, An Individual History, and My Bishop and Other Poems. He is also co-editor, with Charles Baxter and Edward Hirsch, of A William Maxwell Portrait. His translation of Euripides’s Medea appeared in 2006 and a collection of essays, Make Us Wave Back, in 2007. Collier has received Guggenheim and Thomas Watson fellowships, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a "Discovery"/The Nation Award, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Poet Laureate of Maryland from 2001–2004, he teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Maryland. He lives in Catonsville, Maryland.

Awards & Grants

American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature

The American Academy of Arts and Letters is an honor society of the country's 250 leading architects, artists, composers, and writers.

English

Lead: Michael Collier
Dates:
Each year the Academy honors over 70 composers, artists, architects, and writers with awards and prizes ranging from $5000 to $100,000.

Publications

An Individual History

A cycle of path breaking poems about the history of a family set against the backdrop of the last century. An Individual History describes the fears, anger, and guilt—personal, familial, societal, political, and historical—that comprise a life.

English

Lead: Michael Collier
Dates:

A cycle of pathbreaking poems about the history of a family set against the backdrop of the last century.

An Individual History describes the fears, anger, and guilt—personal, familial, societal, political, and historical—that comprise a life. The figure of the speaker’s maternal grandmother who was institutionalized for five decades serves as an overriding metaphor for this haunting, bold new work by an essential American poet.

 Read more at Amazon.

Make Us Wave Back

Make Us Wave Back includes essays on an expansive list of subjects, among them the literary correspondence of William Maxwell; the meaning of the author's own role as poet laureate of the state of Maryland.

English

Lead: Michael Collier
Dates:

National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Michael Collier explores the influences that have made him one of the most distinguished poets of his generation. Make Us Wave Back includes essays on an expansive list of subjects, among them the literary correspondence of William Maxwell; the meaning of the author's own role as poet laureate of the state of Maryland; the journals of Louise Bogan and how they reveal Bogan's struggle with her own personal fears as well as the reconstruction of herself as a writer; and many more.

Dark Wild Realm

From considering the weight of sparrows to urging a cardinal back to life after it crashed into his window, Collier engages birds as messengers and mythmakers, carrying memories from lost friends.

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Lead: Michael Collier
Dates:

A haunting orchestra of birds sings through Dark Wild Realm, the elegiac new collection from Michael Collier, whose previous book, The Ledge, was a finalist for both the National Book Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. From considering the weight of sparrows to urging a cardinal back to life after it crashed into his window, Collier engages birds as messengers and mythmakers, carrying memories from lost friends. As the noted naturalist Pete Dunne praises, Collier "probes the light and dark [and] the layers of human experience the way thrushes turn leaf litter across the forest floor.

The Ledge

A new collection of poetry by the director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, which celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary in 2000.

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Lead: Michael Collier
Dates:
"Dark splendor" are the words Edward Hirsch uses to describe the poems of the award-winning author Michael Collier. Collier's new work balances on the ledge between the everyday and the unknown, revealing the hidden depths of relationships. The poems in THE LEDGE are narrative and colloquial, musical and crystalline, at once intimate and sharp-edged. They render the world beautifully mysterious as they slide into unexpected emotional territory. A son loses his father's favorite hammer, and with it his trust. In "The Wave," the enthusiastic crowd at a baseball game rises and sits in frightening unison, belying their hopeful cheering.

Dark Wild Realm

The award-winning poet Michael Collier’s elegiac fifth collection is haunted by spectral figures and a strange, vivid chorus of birds.

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Lead: Michael Collier
Dates:
From a cardinal that crashes into a window to a gathering of turkey vultures, Collier engages birds as myth-makers and lively messengers, carrying memories from lost friends. The mystery of death and the vital absence it creates are the real subjects of the book. Collier juxtaposes moments of quotidian revelation, like waking to the laughing sounds of bird song, with the drama of Greek tragedy, taking on voices from Medea. As Vanity Fair praised, his poems “tread nimbly between moments of everyday transcendence and spiritual pining.”

Make Us Wave Back: Essays on Poetry and Influence

National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Michael Collier explores the influences that have made him one of the most distinguished poets of his generation.

English

Lead: Michael Collier
Dates:
Make Us Wave Back includes essays on an expansive list of subjects, among them the literary correspondence of William Maxwell; the meaning of the author's own role as poet laureate of the state of Maryland; the journals of Louise Bogan and how they reveal Bogan's struggle with her own personal fears as well as the reconstruction of herself as a writer; and many more.

An Individual History

The poems in An Individual History are a combination of chance encounters and portraits.

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Lead: Michael Collier
Dates:
Contemporary poetry seems to be a shell game between narrative, lyric, and metaphoric threads. Collier’s poems are shaped without being metric; he maintains excellent control of the stanza, but if you’re the sort of reader who’s hungry for a couplet you’ll be starving after reading this volume. As for narrative, these poems aren’t stories, and temporal markers only come up every sixty miles or so. Collier’s poems are long, lonely highways with lots of passing metaphor to recreate the motion. The roads are paved; there are signs and gas stations. But you’ll never find these interstates on a map.

My Bishop and Other Poems

Think of a time when you’ve feigned courage to make a friend, feigned forgiveness to keep one, or feigned indifference to simply stay out of it.

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Lead: Michael Collier
Dates:
The poems of this collection explore such everyday dualities—how the human need for attachment is as much a source of pain as of vitality and how our longing for transcendence often leads to sinister complicities.

The Neighbor

The Neighbor is a book of portraits and portraiture.

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Lead: Michael Collier
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The Neighbor is a book of portraits and portraiture. Like the eccentric and mysteriously heroic citizens of E.A. Robinson's Tilbury Town, Collier's figures haunt a startlingly familiar neighborhood. In clear, rich language, Collier reveals the complexities that emerge from his characters' seemingly uneventful lives.

The Ledge

 "Dark splendor" are the words Edward Hirsch uses to describe the poems of the award-winning author Michael Collier.

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Lead: Michael Collier
Dates:

 

"Dark splendor" are the words Edward Hirsch uses to describe the poems of the award-winning author Michael Collier. Collier's work balances on the ledge between the everyday and the unknown, revealing the hidden depths of relationships. The poems in The Ledge are narrative and colloquial, musical and crystalline, at once intimate and sharp-edged. The artistry and directness of The Ledge confirm his place among the most significant poets of his generation.

Service & Outreach

Poet Laureate of Maryland

The Poet Laureate of Maryland is an honorary State position in which the individual selected will serve at the discretion of the Governor for up to a four-year term renewable by the Governor’s consent.

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Lead: Michael Collier
Dates:
The Poet Laureate will provide public readings for the citizens of Maryland, ensuring that people in all geographic regions of the State have access to at least one reading during the term of service.