Michael Palmer

(1943 / Manhattan, New York City, New York)

Michael Palmer
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Michael Palmer was born in New York City and educated at Harvard in the early 1960s, where he encountered Confessional poetry. His opposition to Confessionalism found root in a developing poetics when he attended the landmark 1963 Vancouver Poetry Conference, a three-week gathering where he met Robert Duncan, Robert Creeley, and Clark Coolidge. Correspondence with those three poets greatly influenced Palmer’s early development as a poet. Often associated with Language poetry, Palmer’s exploratory work confronts notions of representation and habits of language, and also seeks to examine the space through which poetry acts. Though critics have noted the influence of Louis Zukofsky, Paul Celan,... more »

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Best Poem of Michael Palmer


Write this. We have burned all their villages

Write this. We have burned all the villages and the people in them

Write this. We have adopted their customs and their manner of dress

Write this. A word may be shaped like a bed, a basket of tears or an X

In the notebook it says, It is the time of mutations, laughter at jokes,
secrets beyond the boundaries of speech

I now turn to my use of suffixes and punctuation, closing Mr. Circle
with a single stroke, tearing the canvas from its wall, joined to her,
experiencing the same thoughts at the same moment, ...

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