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Richard Michelson

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Richard Michelson
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Richard Michelson was born on July 3, 1953, in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in East New York, a neighborhood whose racial population would dramatically shift in the years when he lived there—a topic Michelson explores in his writing.

When Michelson was nineteen, he got a job traveling the country selling fine art reproductions. He toured the Midwest for three years, during which time he engaged more with art and literature. He then started his own small art gallery in 1976. In 1979, he settled in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he started R.Michelson Galleries, which he continues to run today.

Michelson is the author of four poetry collections: More Money than God (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), Battles & Lullabies (University of Illinois Press, 2006), Masks (The Gehenna Press, 1999), and Tap Dancing for the Relatives (University of Central Florida Press, 1985). In addition to his poetry collections, Michelson has also published over a dozen award-winning children’s books.

In his review of More Money than God, Martín Espada writes, “Some poets wrestle with ghosts. Richard Michelson invites them to sit at the kitchen table, crack jokes, give advice, live and die all over again. By turns philosophical, political, tender, outraged, and funny as hell, Richard Michelson is a poet to remember.”

Michelson is the host of Northampton Poetry Radio and the former poet laureate of Northampton.

Selected Bibliography


More Money than God (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015)
Battles & Lullabies (University of Illinois Press, 2006)
Masks (The Gehenna Press, 1999)
Tap Dancing for the Relatives (University of Central Florida Press, 1985)


by this poet


my father said, again and again, shaking his head
in disbelief at any ostentation; the neighbor’s gold-
plated knocker (we still banged fists) or my own lust
to own the seductive canvas or the waxed bronze bust.
It is not only the idea—which should hold all the pleasure—
but the poet’s


Weight advantage: Santa. Sugar and milk
at every stop, the stout man shimmies
down one more chimney, sack of desire
chuting behind, while Elijah, skinny
and empty-handed, slips in invisible as
a once favored, since disgraced uncle,
through the propped open side door.
Inside, I’ve