Michael Lavers

Michael and Isaak

After reading Michael’s poem Coda,  I knew it was one I wanted to share with the readers of the Poems in the Waiting Room cards. I searched the internet for a contact address with no luck. So I then emailed the editor of the magazine where Coda first appeared and asked him to forward my email on to Michael. And happily Michael responded. Allow me to introduce:

Michael Lavers 

I was born and raised in Canada, spending time both on the east coast and in the west. Many of the poems I am writing now take place in the dilapidated prairie towns my grandparents grew up in. I am completing a PhD in poetry at the University of Utah, and putting the final touches on my first manuscript of poems. After studying English and Russian at BYU, I completed an MFA from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. I am husband to the poet Claire Akebrand and father to nine-month-old Isaak. I read widely and have many favorite poets, but some I never tire of are Elizabeth Bishop, Derek Walcott, Seamus Heaney, W.H. Auden, Emily Dickinson, and Joseph Brodsky.

I hear these lines from Vallejo as if Poetry itself was speaking, proclaiming its purpose:  “I have gone to the door, / and feel like shouting at everybody: / If you are missing something, here it is!” Recently I’ve re-read much Anglo-Saxon poetry and was reminded that for them, poets were not only entertainers; they were the collective memory of their people, the treasurers of history, the keepers of the word-hoard. Although poets today are not as high-profile, their work is still the same: to record human experience in all its minutiae, to preserve what would otherwise be lost forever.

The Republic

A country birds abandon when it rains:
rivers flowing backwards, jungles empty,
a mountain people buried on the plains.

Elegies are outlawed. Fear explains
why soldiers give up on diplomacy,
in a country birds abandon when it rains.

Magpies rut inside the rusty trains.
The moon goes out; only the blind can see
a mountain people buried on the plains.

Viruses unfurl in the veins
as bumper-crop mosquitoes oversee
a country birds abandon when it rains.

The new horizon’s crooked. No one complains:
sunsets last much longer and are free.
A mountain people buried on the plains

dissolves as time takes root in their remains.
The dream that helps us sleep is history,
a country birds abandon when it rains,
a mountain people buried on the plains.

You can read more poems and translations by me here, here, and here.

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