Liebler, M.L. 1953-

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Liebler, M.L. 1953-
(Michael Lynn Liebler)


Born August 24, 1953, in Detroit, MI; son of Vernon (a factory worker) and Mabel D. (a homemaker) Liebler; married Pamela M. Morrill, November 5, 1976; children: Shane Michael, Shelby Lynn. Ethnicity: "German." Education: Oakland University, B.A., 1976, M.A.T., 1980. Politics:"Lifetime democrat." Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Music, history, the Vietnam War, the sixties.


Home—P.O. Box 120, Roseville, MI 48066. Office—Department of English, Wayne State University, 51 W. Warren Ave., Ste. 1238, Detroit, MI 48201. E-mail—[email protected].


Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, senior lecturer in English, 1980—; Young Mens Christian Association, director of arts and humanities for Detroit association, 1994—, Mid-America field coordinator for national organization, 1997—, and director of National Writers Voice Project in Detroit; Ridgeway Press, founding editor and publisher, 1974—; Poetry Resource Center of Michigan, president 1985-92; Broadside Press, director of "poet in the libraries program," 1995-2000; Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) Talk Radio, weekly literary host/segment producer, 1997-99; Northern Michigan University, poet in residence, 2000; Springfed Literary Arts of Metro Detroit, director, 2004—.


Academy of American Poets, Americans for the Arts, Associated Writing Programs.


Artserve/Michigan Council for the Arts Creative Artist Grant, 2001; Wayne State University Board of Governors Book Award, 2001; Wayne County Council for Arts and Humanities Arts Award, 2002; Wayne State University Global Education Grant, 2003, 2004; Best Detroit Poet, Detroit Free Press, 2004.



Measuring Darkness, Ridgeway Press (Detroit, MI), 1980.

Whispers by the Lawn, Volume 1, Ridgeway Press (Detroit, MI), 1985.

Whispers by the Lawn, Volume 2, Ridgeway Press (Detroit, MI), 1987.

Breaking the Voodoo, Parkville Press (Detroit, MI), 1990.

Deliver Me, Ridgeway Press (Detroit, MI), 1992.

Stripping the Adult Century Bare, Viet Nam Generation Press (Charlottesville, VA), 1995.

Brooding the Heartlands, Bottom Dog Press of Firelands College (Huron, OH), 1998.

Written in Rain: New & Selected Poems, Tebot Bach (Huntington Beach, CA), 2000.

Breaking the Voodoo & Other Poems, Adastra Press (Easthampton, MA), 2001.

The China Journal, XOXOX Press (Gambier, OH), 2002.

The Moon a Box: Poems of This World, Western Michigan University Press (Kalamazoo, MI), 2004.


The Vision of Words, J. Sobczak (Detroit, MI), 1992.

(With Melba Joyce Boyd) Abandon Automobile: Detroit City Poetry 2001, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.

Contributor to numerous periodicals, including Christian Science Monitor, Prague Literary Review, Contemporary Review of Fiction, Windsor Literary Review, River Styx, Detroit Sunday Journal, Detroit Free Press, Albuquerque Daily News, San Fernando Literary Review,and the MacGuffin Review; anthologies, such asIdentity Lessons (Viking Penguin), A Gathering of Poets (Kent State University Press), and Coffeehouse Poets (Bottom Dog Press-Bowling Green State University), and others; producer of recordings and videos of poetry readings.


M.L. Liebler first started writing poetry at the age of seven. He gives credit for some of his early inspiration to the musical rhythms of Chuck Berry and James Brown, first witnessed in a film he saw in the Roseville Theater near Detroit, where he grew up. That was about the time he recalls starting to write what he would later understand to be poems, scribbling on scraps of paper and in the margins of his school books. He had never actually read a poem at the time, nor did he remember studying any at school.

Liebler told CA: "Around the age of ten I saw what I would later identify as my first real poem. It was, I think, ‘The Raven’ by Edgar Allan Poe. I didnt really read much of the poem, and I remember not being all that crazy about it, but I do remember that it was at that very moment in my youth and our national history that some significant things occurred in my life that would forever change me and America. John F. Kennedy was assassinated on a cold, rainy Friday before Thanksgiving in 1963. Vietnam showed up just a year later, and I fully realized something was wrong with this country when the eighteen-year-old neighbor boy came back in a flag-draped box. In 1964, on a television stage, I had the first chance to watch four mop-tops who would become my childhood heroes and inspirations, and who would later introduce me to the musicality of the spoken word through wild rock ‘n’ roll in the out-loud tradition. Ed Sullivan was my Moses, and he led me from the darkness of brooding America to the Promised Land, where I caught my first glimpse of the Beatles."

Politics and music both affected Liebler, inspiring him to explore different aspects of literature, performance art, and the ways in which art could be used in protest. He discovered the works of hippie-poet Allen Ginsberg, and also poet Lawrence Pike, who was local to the Detroit area. Pike advised Liebler to read as much as he could to become grounded in the art of poetry if he had any hope of becoming a serious writer. Pike introduced him to authors such as William Shakespeare,William Carlos Williams, William Butler Yeats, and Ezra Pound, as well local poets, and writers of other forms of prose, including Nathanael West, Herbert Selby, Jr., and Charles Bukowski. The combination of ideas, words, and rhythms served as a call to Liebler, driving him to write his own poetry and to pass his enthusiasm on to others.

Liebler told CA: "Now, almost forty years later, I am still writing and reading and listening and organizing and teaching poetry, and I continue to carry the torch for literature in both traditional and nontraditional ways. My advice to young poets now is: if you hear a phone ring in the distance of your life, pick it up. It may be your mysterious call that will make your life whole and help your soul to sing the songs and write the poems you were born to create. It was for me."



Small Press Review, July-August, 2000, Larry Smith, "Sing His Song," p. 8.


Exoterica Poetry, (July 1, 2006), brief author biography.

Ludington Writers, (July 1, 2006), Sarah Jensen, review of The Moon a Box: Poems of This World.