Poet, Author of The End of the West
“Reading into Michael Dickman’s book is like drinking from the well and the water from that well comes from deep in the earth. Spare, clear, untranslatable poems—spoken as if out of the original silence. How, living as he does, in the 21st century, can Michael Dickman be so still, within himself, as to hear that?” —Marie Howe
“With vacant space and verbal economy, his work suggests volumes.” —Poets & Writers
Michael Dickman began writing poems “after accidentally reading a Neruda ode.” His first collection is The End of the West (2009) from Copper Canyon Press. A brilliant debut, his poetry breathes in the entire world, it’s delights, cruelty, boredom, and griefs, and breathes out a prayer, one that holds both grace and suffering, equally, lightly. “There is only this world and this world // What a relief / created // over and over.” Franz Wright calls him a young poetic genius with a “style like no one else’s” and elucidates, “With the utmost gravity as well as a kind of cosmic wit, Michael Dickman’s poems give a voice to the real life sorrows, horrors, and indomitable joys which bind together the vast human family.” His second book of poetry entitled Flies is forthcoming from Copper Canyon in May of 2011. The book was chosen by poets Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Major Jackson, and Michael Ryan to receive the 2010 James Laughlin Award, which gives $5,000 to the most outstanding second book by an American poet in the previous year. The award will be presented at the Academy’s Awards Ceremony, as part of the fourth annual Poets Forum in New York City.
Dickman was born and raised in the Lents neighborhood of Portland Oregon. He has received fellowships from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas, the Fine Arts Work Center, and the Vermont Studio Center, and he won the 2008 Narrative Prize. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Field, Tin House, Narrative Magazine and others. He has been profiled in Poets & Writers and The New Yorker, with his twin brother, poet Matthew Dickman. He has been awarded a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton for 2009-2010.
About FLIES (forthcoming, 2011)
“Hilarity transfiguring all that dread, manic overflow of powerful feeling, zero at the bone—Flies renders its desolation with singular invention and focus and figuration: the making of these poems makes them exhilarating.” —Michael Ryan
About THE END OF THE WEST (2009)
The poems in Michael Dickman’s energized debut document the bright desires and all-too-common sufferings of modern times: the churn of domestic violence, spiritual longing, drug abuse, and the impossible expectations fathers have for their sons. In a poem that references heroin and “scary parents,” Dickman reminds us that “Still there is a lot to pray to on earth.”