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About this poet

Born in Portland, Oregon, in 1975, Michael Dickman, his twin brother Matthew, and his younger sister were raised by their mother in the neighborhood of Lents. He received his MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dickman's first collection, The End of the West, was published in 2009 by Copper Canyon Press. He is also the coauthor of the forthcoming 50 American Plays from Copper Canyon Press. His second collection of poetry, Flies (Copper Canyon Press, 2011), received the 2010 James Laughlin Award.

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 addition to writing, Dickman appeared in the 2002 film Minority Report with his twin brother, worked for years as a cook, and has recently been active in the Writers in the Schools program. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Translations

Michael Dickman
My mother was led into the world
by her teeth

Pulled
like a bull
into the 
heather

She only ever wanted to be a mother her whole life and nothing else, not even a human being!

One body turned into 
another body

Pulled like that
by the golden voices of children

A bull 
out of hell

Called out
her teeth out in front of her
her children

pulling


*


First I walk my mother out
into the field
by a leash
by a lifetime
then she walks me out
our coats
shimmering

I brush her hair

Wipe the flies away from her eyes

They are my eyes

Who will ride my mother
when we aren't around
anymore?

Her children won't

Turned from one thing into another until you are a bull standing in a field

The field just beginning
to whistle us
home


*


Then I am led by the mouth
out into the yellow
field

The light turning to water in the early evening, the insects dying in the cold and coming
     back in the morning

 

Something has to come back

Wings and
shit

I have put on my horse-head

Led by a bit

A lead

My leader is tall and the hair on her forearms is gold

It is a miracle
to lower your eyes
into the tall grass
and eat

From Flies. Copyright © 2010 by Michael Dickman. Used with permission of Copper Canyon Press.

From Flies. Copyright © 2010 by Michael Dickman. Used with permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Michael Dickman

Michael Dickman

Poet Michael Dickman's second collection of poetry, Flies, received the 2010 James Laughlin Award

by this poet

poem

Something breathes
on a dead deer
and the hair inside its ears
wave

Headlights and
rubber

Water fills the black eyeholes that keep seeing everything reflected back from skidding
         black macadam

Someone cut your feet off

Someone moved your

poem
You don't have to
be afraid
anymore

His super-outfit is made from handfuls of shit and garbage blood and pinned together
   by stars

Flying around
the room
like a mosq-
uito

Drinking all the blood
or whatever we
have

to save us
who

need to be saved


*


I whispered     To the
poem
I sit down for dinner
with my dead brother
again

This is the last dream I ever want to have

Passing the forks 
around the table, passing 
the knives

There's nothing to worry about

One thing I want to know is who's in the kitchen right now if it isn't me

It isn't me

The kitchen is full of flies, flies are