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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
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
What are the birds called
in that neighborhood
The dogs

There were dogs flying
from branch to
branch

My friends and I climbed up the telephone poles to sit on the power lines dressed like
   crows

Their voices sounded like lemons

They were a smooth sheet
They grew

black feathers

Not
poem

Standing in her house today all I could think of was whether she took a shit every
   morning

or ever fucked anybody
or ever fucked
herself

God's poet
singing herself to sleep

You want these sorts of things for people

Bodies and
the earth
and

the earth inside

Instead of white
nightgowns and