poem index


Wayne Miller

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Wayne Miller

Wayne Miller was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and received a BA from Oberlin College in 1998. After a year working in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, he went on to receive his MFA from the University of Houston, where he studied with Adam Zagajewski.

Miller is the author of four poetry collections: Post– (Milkweed Editions, 2016), The City, Our City (Milkweed Editions, 2011), The Book of Props (Milkweed Editions, 2009), and Only the Senses Sleep (New Issues, 2006). The poet Dana Levin describes Miller’s work as engaging “with grim wit and empathy, strong music and imagery, in poems alive to the intersections of the domestic and political.”

Miller is also known for his work as an editor and a translator. His editing projects include Literary Publishing in the 21st Century (Milkweed Editions, 2016), and he has translated two works by Moikom Zeqo, including I Don’t Believe in Ghosts (BOA Editions, 2007). With Kevin Prufer, he curates the Unsung Masters Series.

Among his awards are the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He currently teaches at the University of Colorado, where he edits the literary journal Copper Nickel. He lives in Denver.

Selected Bibliography

Post– (Milkweed Editions, 2016)
The City, Our City (Milkweed Editions, 2011)
The Book of Props (Milkweed Editions, 2009)
Only the Senses Sleep (New Issues, 2006)

by this poet

Tonight all the leaves are paper spoons
in a broth of wind. Last week
they made a darker sky below the sky.

The houses have swallowed their colors,
and each car moves in the blind sack
of its sound like the slipping of water.

Flowing means falling very slowly—
the river passing under the tracks,
the tracks

When I touch your skin and goosebumps lift,
it’s your mind that surfaces there.
When your iris tightens mechanically
around your pupil, that aperture
becomes for me the blacked-out
cockpit of your mind.
                                        It’s your mind
that touches your


Phones were ringing

in the pockets of the living
and the dead

the living stepped carefully among.
The whole still room

was lit with sound—like a switchboard—
and those who could answer

said hello. Then
it was just the dead, the living

trapped inside their bloody