Waters, Michael 1949-

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WATERS, Michael 1949-

PERSONAL: Born November 23, 1949, in New York, NY; son of Raymond G. (a firefighter) and Dorothy (a secretary; maiden name, Smith) Waters; married Robin Irwin (a teacher), May 13, 1972 (divorced, 1992); married Mihaela Moscalivc (a translator), January 20, 1999; children: (first marriage) Kiernan (daughter). Education: University of Nottingham, 1970-71; State University of New York College at Brockport, B.A., 1971, M.A., 1972; University of Iowa, Iowa City, M.F.A., 1974; Ohio University, Athens, Ph.D., 1977.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of English, 360 Holloway Hall, Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD 21801. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Poet and educator. University of Iowa, Iowa City, teaching assistant, 1972-74; New York State Arts Council, New York, NY, poet-in-the-schools, 1974-75; South Carolina Arts Commission, Columbia, poet-inresidence, 1974-75; Ohio Arts Council, Columbus, poet-in-the-schools, 1975-78; Ohio University, Athens, teaching fellow, 1975-77, instructor, 1977-78; Ohio Review, editorial assistant, 1976-77, associate editor, 1977-78; Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD, instructor, 1978-79, assistant professor, 1979-84, associate professor, 1984-91, professor of English, 1991—; University of Athens, Athens, Greece, visiting professor in American literature, 1981-82; Raccoon, associate editor, 1982-91; Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA, Margaret Banister Writer-in-Residence, 1987-89; University of Maryland, College Park, visiting professor, 1995. Has conducted numerous summer programs, including the Catskill Poetry Workshop at Hartwick College, 1987, and the Writers' Center at the Chautauqua Institution. Has given poetry readings throughout the United States and abroad, including at the Al-Merbid Poetry Festival in Baghdad, Iraq; at the Conference on Contemporary Greek and American Poetry in Athens, Greece; at summer seminars in Prague, Czech Republic, 2000, 2001, 2004; and at the Museum for Romanian Literature in Bucharest, Romania. Has been a contributing editor for the Pushcart Prize and has served on the committee of the Poets' Prize award. Has acted as director for Writerson-the-Shore at Salisbury University.

AWARDS, HONORS: National Young Poets award, London Poetry Society (England), 1971; Winthrop College award for excellence in poetry, 1975, for Fish Light; Yaddo fellowship, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1992, 1995; National Endowment for the Arts residencies for writers grants, 1979, 1981, 1983, creative writing fellowship, 1984; Maryland Arts Council literature work-in-progress grant, 1983, 1985, 1988, 1989; Pushcart Prizes, 1984, 1990; Towson State University Prize for Literature, 1985, for Anniversary of the Air, and 1990, for The Burden Lifters; Maryland State Arts Council individual artist awards, 1990, 1992, 1997, 2001; Virginia Center for Creative Arts Fellowships, 1990-92, 1994-95, 1997; Tyrone Guthrie fellowship (Ireland), 1993; MacDowell Colony fellowships, 1994, 1994; Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies fellowship, 1996; Salisbury University Distinguished Faculty Award, 2001.



A Rare Breed of Antelope, Byron Press (London, England), 1972.

Fish Light, Ithaca House (Ithaca, NY), 1975.

In Memory of Smoke, Rook Press (Derry, PA), 1977.

The Scent of Apples, Croissant (Athens, OH), 1977.

Instinct, Croissant (Athens, OH), 1978.

Not Just Any Death, BOA Editions (Brockport, NY), 1979.

Among Blackberries, Serviceberry Press (Richmond, VA), 1979.

Air Touched by the Axe, Inland Boat (Tempe, AZ), 1980.

Dogs in the Storm, Breakwater Press (Portland, ME), 1981.

The Stories in the Light, Thunder City Press (Birmingham, AL), 1983.

The Faithful, Ion Books/Raccoon Books (Memphis, TN), 1984.

Anniversary of the Air, Carnegie-Mellon University Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1985.

The Barn in the Air, Livingston University Press (Livingston, AL), 1987.

The Burden Lifters, Carnegie-Mellon University Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1989.

Bountiful, Carnegie-Mellon University Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1992.

Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum: New Poems, BOA Editions (Rochester, NY), 1997.

Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems, BOA Editions (Rochester, NY), 2001.

New and Selected Poems, BOA Editions (Rochester, NY), 2001.


Dissolve to Island: On the Poetry of John Logan, Ford-Brown (Houston, TX), 1984.

(With A. Poulin, Jr.) Contemporary American Poetry, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2001.

(And author of introduction) A. Poulin, Jr., Selected Poems, BOA Editions (Rochester, NY), 2001.

(With Robert Hedin) Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing from Homer to Ali, Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale, IL), 2003.

contributor to anthologies

The Ardis Anthology of New American Poetry, Ardis (Ann Arbor, MI), 1976.

George Garrett, editor, Intro 8: The Liar's Craft, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1977.

Paul Feroe, editor, Silent Voices: Recent American Poems on Nature, Ally Press (St. Paul, MN), 1978.

Gerald Costanzo, editor, Three Rivers Ten Years, Carnegie-Mellon University Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1983.

Wayne Dodd, editor, The Ohio Review: Ten Year Retrospective, Ohio Review (Athens, OH), 1983.

Alan F. Pater, editor, Anthology of Magazine Verse and Yearbook of American Poetry (annual), Monitor Book (Beverly Hills, CA), 1984, 1985, 1987.

Bill Henderson, editor, The Pushcart Prize, IX: Best of the Small Presses, Pushcart Press/Avon (New York, NY), 1984.

William Heyen, editor, The Generation of 2000: Contemporary American Poets, Ontario Review Press (New York, NY), 1984.

Jack Myers and Roger Weingarten, editors, New American Poets of the 80's, Wampeter (Green Harbor, ME), 1984.

Dave Smith and David Bottoms, editors, The Morrow Anthology of Younger American Poets, Morrow (New York, NY), 1985.

Stanley W. Lindberg and Stephen Corey, editors, Keener Sounds: Selected Poems from the Georgia Review, University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 1987.

Bill Henderson, editor, The Pushcart Prize, XV: Best of the Small Presses, Pushcart Press/Avon (New York, NY), 1990.

Robert Wallace, editor, Writing Poems, 3rd edition, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1990.

Robin Behr and Chase Twichell, editors, The Practice of Poetry, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1992.

Contributing editor, The Pushcart Prize, 1984—. Reviewer, Choice: Current Reviews for College Libraries, 1986-92. Book reviews editor, Chelsea, 2000-02. Contributor to journals, including American Poetry Review, Poetry, Rolling Stone, Yale Review, Georgia Review, and Antioch Review.

SIDELIGHTS: Poet Michael Waters has been celebrated with many awards and recognitions throughout his literary career. He has traveled across the globe to share his work, and his poems have been translated into Russian and Arabic. While his poems did not receive extensive critical attention until the 1990s, since this time he has amassed an academic following devoted to the interpretation and realization of his work.

Waters's 1997 poetry collection, titled Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum: New Poems, reflects on loss, spirituality, and the divinity of nature. "You may think that many of these poems are about one long, painful relationship," Waters commented at a 1997 Salisbury University reading of this collection of poetry. "Actually," the author continued, "they're about several long, painful relationships." The book was published five years after Waters's divorce from his first wife and two years before his marriage to his second. In these poems, Waters often turns to nature for consolation after loss, especially a loss of love. An excerpt from Green Ash's title poem reveals this: "How often the names of trees consoled me / how I would repeat to myself green ash / while the marriage smoldered in the not-talking."

Other poems in this collection reflect the style of naturalist poet Walt Whitman, whom Waters considers his muse. Waters infuses the book with sensual and passionate images, more than he has in the past, that often precede reflections on spirituality and nature. A Publishers Weekly reviewer observed that in Green Ash, "Waters's eye for physical detail yields some treasures," but the reviewer ultimately focused on the dominant sensual theme of the book, stating "little seems to capture and concentrate Waters's attention and considerable descriptive skills as do women in their role as sexual partner." Religious and literary figures also play an important role in Green Ash. Daniel L. Guillory wrote in Library Journal that Green Ash is a "rewarding and highly readable work," praising the poet's "transcendent power of … language" and remarking that its "beautifully crafted" poems "resonate with literary allusions and epigraphs." Turner concluded that the book is "erudite and rewarding," but noted that "it can be somewhat difficult at times." Commenting on the poet's highly cultivated intellect, Turner continued, "The reader must bring a probing intelligence to the book in order to reap its full rewards; Waters is not—and never has been—writing for the lowest common denominator…. His intelligence is sometimes shocking."

Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems is a comprehensive collection of the author's work from his first publications in the 1970s to the poems of Green Ash and those written after the millennium. The book's theme is similar to that of Green Ash, focusing again on old losses and new outlets of spiritual hope, but differs in that it juxtaposes old poems with newer ones, creating a retrospective of the poet's artistic development. Parenthopi's poems highlight a range of subjects related to the process of emotional maturation, beginning with aspects of boyhood such as rational puberty and juvenile delinquency, moving to artistic consciousness, and ultimately to loss. The poems are not presented in chronology, however. Each section contains its own chronological design, resulting in a "luminous and intelligent sequence," according to John Mann, who reviewed Parthenopi for World Literature Today. "Waters's book testifies eloquently to the persistence of the lyric in a time and history that would seek to obliterate it," continued Mann, "the lyric that dances on the world's transience and suddenly bursts through to the nature of things." In addition to his poetry collections, Waters has both contributed to and edited several anthologies, including Contemporary American Poetry and Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing from Homer to Ali.



Contemporary Poets, 7th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 120, American Poets Since World War II, Third Series, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.

Directory of American Poets and Fiction Writers, Poets & Writers (New York, NY), 2002.

Directory of American Scholars, 10th edition, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.

Waters, Michael, Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum: New Poems, BOA Editions (Rochester, NY), 1997.


Booklist, November 1, 2003, John Green, review of Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing from Homer to Ali, p. 473.

Chelsea, 1997, review of Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum, p. 161.

Library Journal, June 1, 1997, Daniel L. Guillory, review of Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum, p. 103.

Poetry, August, 1998, review of Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum, p. 293.

Publishers Weekly, February 24, 1997, review of Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum, p. 85; June 18, 2001, review of New and Selected Poems, p. 78.

World Literature Today, spring, 2002, John Mann, review of Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems, pp. 158-159.


Adirondack Review Web site, http://adirondackreview.homestead.com/ (August 23, 2005), excerpt from Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum.

BOA Editions Web site, http://www.boaeditions.org/ (February 11, 2004), description of Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum description of Parthenopi, and "Michael Waters: Biography."

Rio, University of Chicago Illinois Electronic Literary Journal Web site, http://works.engl.uic.edu/rio/ (February 11, 2004), Jack Turner, review of Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum.

Salisbury University Web site, http://www.salisbury.edu/ (November 5, 1998), "Michael Waters Presents Works at Virginia Colleges," (August 24, 2000), "Michael Waters Travels as Poet-in-Residence," (February 11, 2004), "Michael Waters."

Salt Hill, Syracuse University Literary Magazine Web site, http://students.syr.edu/salthill/ (February 11, 2004), "Notes on Contributors."

Washington College Web site, http://www.washcoll.edu/ (January 28, 2004), "Poet Michael Waters to Read from His Works, February 12 at Washington College."*