Michael Dickman

I love to participate in art that keeps a little distance at first, something that doesn’t come all the way out to meet me. Does every thought or line or image need to be completed in a poem? I wonder.

James laughlin Award

Hodder fellow

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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 that bind together the vast human family.
— Franz Wright
A kaleidoscope of images surfacing for air out of our commercialized landscape. This acute poet’s sharp, spare lines bring forward otherwise-missed moments in our common experiences . . . The poignant heart of this skilled collection is the long poem ‘Lakes Rivers Streams,’ an astounding poem that when read in one go pulls the reader in as if he or she is caught in a river’s strong current. The flotsam and jetsam of the tactile and the ardent congruity of being human and alive ripple through this skillfully navigated poem . . . Dickman offers a gentle swirl of rediscovered everydayness, and, after all, isn’t that what poetry should do on occasion, realign the everyday anew?

Michael Dickman’s most recent book of poems is Days & Days (Knopf, 2019), which Booklist called, “sharp” and “poignant.” Other books include Green Migraine (Copper Canyon, 2016), 50 American Plays (Copper Canyon, 2012) co-authored with his twin brother, the poet Matthew Dickman, Flies (Copper Canyon, 2011), winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and The End of the West, (Copper Canyon, 2009).

His many grants, fellowships, and residencies include honors from organizations such as the Michener Center for Writers, the Vermont Studio Center, the Fine Arts Work Center, and the Lannan Foundation. He was awarded the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University for 2009-2010.

In an interview with Radar about Flies, Dickman was asked where he places the style of the poems, if they feel contemporary or ‘“old-fashioned.” “Old-fashioned. I think of Seamus Heaney and how I am always trying to write like him...It’s the music that matters the most; I’m not concerned with tricks,” he notes. “I feel like a throwback in that I am doing something formally. I am trying to get close to an organic form. This might have been Keats’ idea, or someone else’s, but these poems are the result of an impulse to make a clear image that sings.”

In addition to writing, Dickman appeared in the 2002 film Minority Report with his brother. He earned a BA at the University of Oregon and an MFA at the University of Texas-Austin’s Michener Center for Writers.  Born in Portland, Oregon, he is currently on the faculty at Princeton University, and lives in New Jersey.



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