Books by Michael Collier

WONDERS OF GEOLOGY by Michael Collier
Released: Dec. 2, 2011

"For the budding geologist—or photographer, or pilot—in the household, a thing of wonder, and an exemplary work of feature-rich multimedia publishing."
A captivating introduction, technical but not difficult, to the rumblings within the Earth that produce the world's mountains. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2000

" These poets should not have to creep; readers should flock to their vibrant, exciting voices."
These "new" poets are indeed new: almost all of the 54 contributors included in these pages are either under 40 or have published a first book within the past five years. Any anthology of this sort is risky by definition; one would be hard-pressed to count 54 really good American poets in the entire 20th century, much less in the last decade. Predictably, therefore, the quality of the poems varies widely, with the worst offenders too willing to hide behind banalities disguised as insights. But the volume's lovely surprise is that the strong poems far outnumber the weak. In general the writing is suffused with strangeness, originality, and, at times, pure genius. Collier, a poet and professor at the University of Maryland who also directs the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, has done an admirable job of opening the book to a broad range of styles and sensibilities. The result is an anthology that, rather than privileging something called a "realist" or "experimental" tradition, shows clearly how these young writers, whose short biographies tell tales of diverse influences and demographics, have embarked on the ambitious project of remapping the boundaries of American poetry itself. From the startling linguistic experiments of D.A. Powell and Mary Jo Bang to the sensitive formalism of Greg Williamson to the cool revelations of Pimone Triplett and Maurice Kilwein Guevara, this writing belies the stereotype of American poetry as moribund, instead making a convincing argument that it is as lively and rich as ever. As Olena Kalytiak Davis writes in "Sweet Reader, Flanneled and Tulled," "Reader unmov'd and Reader unshaken, Reader unsedc'd / and unterrified, through the long-loud and the sweet-still / I creep toward you." Read full book review >
THE LEDGE by Michael Collier
Released: April 27, 2000

" Whether writing about the natural creatures of the world or about myth and personal history, Collier offers delight for both ear and mind."
A welcome new collection from a poet of distinction. Collier (The Neighbor; The Folded Heart) teaches at the University of Maryland and is director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. He has won Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, as well as a Discovery/The Nation Award. These layered and textured poems are rendered with the kind of craftsmanship one might expect from a master woodworker or potter but finds all too seldom in poetry these days. The ledge alluded to in the book's title is from ``Brave Sparrow,'' a poem that is important to the book's overall meaning: ``Whose home is in the straw / and baling twine threaded / in the slots of a roof vent / who guards a tiny ledge / against the starlings / that cruise the neighborhood. . . .'' For all its vulnerability, the sparrow embodies the courage it takes to live in a precarious world, a metaphor still apt for the creative life, though by no means limited to that. Collier's line endings manage to be both crisp and sinewy, pulling the reader on through the twists and turns of a poem with many surprises along the way: ``If you think Odysseus too strong and brave to cry, / that the godloved, godprotected hero / when he returned to Ithaka disguised, / intent to check up on his wife / and candidly apprize the condition of his kingdom, / steeled himself resolutely against surprise / and came into his land coldhearted, cleareyed, / ready for revenge—then you read Homer as I did, / too fast. . . .'' Read full book review >