Michael Collier Photo courtesy James Merrill House

Michael Collier Photo courtesy James Merrill House

STONINGTON — Poet Michael Collier, the former poet laureate of Maryland and author of seven books of poems — including "The Ledge," which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award — will give a virtual reading from the Merrill Apartment Saturday. 

Collier, a "distinguished" graduate of Connecticut College with the class of 1976, studied with William Meredith, who was teaching there at the time. The tutelage and friendship with Meredith was foundational to Collier's vocation and career as a poet, according to Laura Matthews, a member of the James Merrill House Board of Directors.

Collier is also the director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Maryland.

His poems, writes the Poetry Foundation, "often reveal a fascination with objects and their significance; they are populated with, according to poet and critic James Longenbach, a 'sinister and yet oddly comic cast of misfits, ogres and giants.'"

Collier once said in a Blackbird interview about teaching poetry, “I think poetry does have this ability to help us deal with things that aren’t black and white and make our thinking more subtle."

Collier is the editor of two acclaimed anthologies of poetry, "The Wesleyan Tradition: Four Decades of American Poetry" (1993) and "The New American Poets: A Bread Loaf Anthology" (2000), and a translation of "Medea" (2006). He is also the author of a collection of essays, "Make Us Wave Back" (2007).

He has received numerous awards for his poetry, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, an Academy Award in Literature, a Pushcart Prize, the Thomas Watson Fellowship, and a “Discovery”/The Nation award.

— Nancy Burns-Fusaro

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