Paper $18.00 ISBN: 9780226570860 Published August 2018
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My Bishop and Other Poems

Michael Collier

My Bishop and Other Poems

Michael Collier

80 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2018
Paper $18.00 ISBN: 9780226570860 Published August 2018
E-book $10.00 to $18.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226571058 Published August 2018
Think of a time when you’ve feigned courage to make a friend, feigned forgiveness to keep one, or feigned indifference to simply stay out of it. What does it mean for our intimacies to fail us when we need them most?

The poems of this collection explore such everyday dualities—how the human need for attachment is as much a source of pain as of vitality and how our longing for transcendence often leads to sinister complicities. The title poem tells the conflicted and devastating story of the poet’s friendship with the now-disgraced Bishop of Phoenix, Arizona, interweaving fragments of his parents’ funerals, which the Bishop concelebrated, with memories of his childhood spiritual leanings and how they were disrupted by a pedophilic priest the Bishop failed to protect him from.

This meditation on spiritual life, physical death, and betrayal is joined by an array of poised, short lyrics and expansive prose poems exploring how the terror and unpredictability of our era intrudes on our most intimate moments. Whether Michael Collier is writing about an airline disaster, Huey Newton’s trial, Thomas Jefferson’s bees, a piano in the woods, or his own fraught friendship with the disgraced Catholic Bishop, his syntactic verve, scrupulously observed detail, and flawless ear bring the felt—and sometimes frightening—dimensions of the mundane to life. Throughout, this collection pursues a quiet but ferocious need to get to the bottom of things.
Contents
Acknowledgments
Meadow
***
A Wild Tom Turkey
Strands of Hair in a Used Book
Three
Jefferson’s Bees
Early Summer
To a Lemon
Len Bias, a Bouquet of Flowers, and Ms. Brooks
Emily Dickinson
Koi
***
Boom Boom
My Bishop
Anecdote of the Piano in the Woods
***
Vitalis
The Storm
My Father as a Maple Tree
Last Morning with Steve Orlen
Funky Stuff
To Isabella Franconati
***
Bronze Foot in a Glass Case
Notes
Review Quotes
American Poetry Review
“There is something about his affections that keeps us awakened, vigilant. . . . A poet troubled and charming, struggling with turmoil in the animating surfaces and turns of his poems. . . . Sublime.”
Lisa Russ Spaar | On the Seawall
“Michael Collier’s My Bishop and Other Poems offers a nuanced foray into what it means to attempt, in language, to recount personal  memories and to establish what broader authenticity and significance they might reveal. . . . Collier reminds us again and again that there is in poetry a political place for the genuine—that is, for the closely attended-to, paradoxical full menu of experience that, once in a while, yields up, however ephemerally, a sense of something akin to what might be called a truth.”
Grace Cavalieri | Washington Independent Review of Books
“I’m already a Collier fan, and this book, over the others, is my dramatic favorite. The risk-taking is new, or at least riskier, clean, and profound—stories unlimited in freedom. . . . I’m glad I had to wait three hours in the doctor’s office so I could immerse myself into Collier’s mysterious processes.” 
Helen Schulman, author of Come with Me: A Novel
“‘My Bishop,’ the central poem in this fine new collection by Michael Collier, once again displays his cool intellect and exquisite facility of language, knife-sharp humor and resilient humanity.  What sets it aside as a masterpiece, his masterpiece, is how with equal parts unearthly grace and lit gas-jet fury he breaks our hearts.”
A. Van Jordan, author of The Cineaste: Poems
“You might think of this as a time that privileges politics over poetry if you want to make a political difference. Michael Collier’s My Bishop and Other Poems reminds us of the power of the observant in an age when, too often, we move too quickly to notice the world unfolding around us. These poems bring a passion, an empathy, and a way of seeing I had forgotten was possible.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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