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About this poet

Born in Portland, Oregon, in 1975, Michael Dickman, his twin brother Matthew, and his younger sister were raised by their mother in the neighborhood of Lents. He received his MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin.

Dickman's first collection, The End of the West, was published in 2009 by Copper Canyon Press. He is also the coauthor of the forthcoming 50 American Plays from Copper Canyon Press. His second collection of poetry, Flies (Copper Canyon Press, 2011), received the 2010 James Laughlin Award.

His many grants, fellowships, and residencies include honors from organizations such as the Michener Center for Writers, the Vermont Studio Center, the Fine Arts Work Center, and the Lannan Foundation. He was awarded the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University for 2009-2010.

In addition to writing, Dickman appeared in the 2002 film Minority Report with his twin brother, worked for years as a cook, and has recently been active in the Writers in the Schools program. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

My Autopsy (Excerpt)

Michael Dickman
There is a way
if we want
into everything

I'll eat the chicken carbonara and you eat the veal, the olives, the small and glowing
   loaves of bread

I'll eat the waiter, the waitress
floating through the candled dark in shiny black slacks
like water at night

The napkins, folded into paper boats, contain invisible Japanese poems

You eat the forks
all the knives, asleep and waiting
on the white tables

What do you love?

I love the way our teeth stay long after we're gone, hanging on despite worms or fire

I love our stomachs
turning over
the earth

From The End of the West by Michael Dickman. Copyright © 2009 by Michael Dickman. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

From The End of the West by Michael Dickman. Copyright © 2009 by Michael Dickman. Used by permission of Copper Canyon Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Michael Dickman

Michael Dickman

Poet Michael Dickman's second collection of poetry, Flies, received the 2010 James Laughlin Award

by this poet

poem
You don't have to
be afraid
anymore

His super-outfit is made from handfuls of shit and garbage blood and pinned together
   by stars

Flying around
the room
like a mosq-
uito

Drinking all the blood
or whatever we
have

to save us
who

need to be saved


*


I whispered     To the
poem
What are the birds called
in that neighborhood
The dogs

There were dogs flying
from branch to
branch

My friends and I climbed up the telephone poles to sit on the power lines dressed like
   crows

Their voices sounded like lemons

They were a smooth sheet
They grew

black feathers

Not
poem
I sit down for dinner
with my dead brother
again

This is the last dream I ever want to have

Passing the forks 
around the table, passing 
the knives

There's nothing to worry about

One thing I want to know is who's in the kitchen right now if it isn't me

It isn't me

The kitchen is full of flies, flies are