Biography of Michael Collier
Michael Robert Collier (born 1953) is an American poet, teacher, creative writing program administrator and editor. He has published five books of original poetry, a translation of Euripedes' Medea, a book of prose pieces about poetry, and has edited three anthologies of poetry. From 2001 to 2004 he was the Poet Laureate of Maryland. As of 2011, he is the director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, a professor of creative writing at the University of Maryland, College Park and the poetry editorial consultant for Houghton Mifflin (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).
Collier was born in Phoenix, Arizona and graduated from Brophy College Preparatory in 1971. He attended the Santa Clara University for one year, then transferred to Connecticut College in 1973 to study with the Pulitzer prize-winning poet William Morris Meredith, Jr. In 1977, he moved to London on a Thomas Watson fellowship and worked with editor William Cookson on the British literary magazine Agenda. After graduating cum laude from Connecticut College in 1976, and receiving his M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Arizona in 1979, he was a writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, from 1979 to 1980. He moved to the Washington, D.C., area in 1981, where he began teaching part-time at George Mason University, Trinity College and the University of Maryland, College Park. From 1983 to 1984, he was the coordinator of public relations and the poetry program at the Folger Shakespeare Library. In 1984, he was appointed full-time to the English faculty at the University of Maryland. In the summer of 1981, he attended the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference for the first time as the Margaret Bridgman Scholar in Poetry, followed by stints as a fellow in 1986, and as associate faculty in 1992 and 1993. In 1994, the trustees of Middlebury College appointed him Director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Founded in 1926, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference is the longest-running writers' conference in the United States. In 2002, Houghton-Mifflin Publishers appointed Collier as its editorial consultant for poetry. He has edited books by the American poets Michael Ryan, Spencer Reece, and Alan Shapiro and the British poet Glyn Maxwell, as well as the books Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey which won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize and Space Walk by Tom Sleigh, which won the 2008 $100,000 Kingsley Tufts award from Claremont Graduate University. From 2001 to 2004, Collier served as the Maryland state poet laureate.
He is married and has two sons.
Michael Collier Poems
A few of us—Hillary Clinton, Vlad Dracula, Oprah Winfrey, and Trotsky—peer through the kitchen window at a raccoon perched outside on a picnic table where it picks
A Real-Life Drama
This dog standing in the middle of the street, tail stiff, fur bushy with fear, and a pedigree rabbit, its neck broken and bleeding beneath his paws,
Birds Appearing in a Dream
One had feathers like a blood-streaked koi, another a tail of color-coded wires. One was a blackbird stretching orchid wings, another a flicker with a wounded head.
A Real-Life Drama
This dog standing in the middle of the street,
tail stiff, fur bushy with fear, and a pedigree rabbit,
its neck broken and bleeding beneath his paws,
might have been forgiven or simply taken away
and shot under different circumstances
and no one would have said much, except his owner
who'd gone out into the yard at the start
of the commotion, having been involved