Working Class Poet Finds A Seat At The Table

Sep 7, 2017


Copper Canyon Press
Credit Book Cover / Copper Canyon Press

“It’s [McGriff’s] language that keeps you reading along, transfixed.” New York Times Book Review

"Early Hour" is a book-length sequence inspired by German Expressionist Karl Hofer's 1935 painting (Frühe, Stunde) of the same name. Between two bodies, a wild, surreal, and at times erotic landscape blooms – even as it is fractured. Michael McGriff's sustained meditation forms a lyrical backcountry imbued with desire and cultural anxiety. These poems are an ode to Eros in a world unraveling.

Michael McGriff
Credit Author Photo / Copper Canyon Press

Michael McGriff is an author, editor, and translator. He was born and raised in Coos Bay, Oregon, and attended the University of Oregon, The Michener Center for Writers, and Stanford University. He is the co-author, with J. M. Tyree, of the linked story collection Our Secret Life in the Movies, which was selected as one of NPR’s Best Books of 2014. His poetry collections include Black Postcards, Home Burial, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, Dismantling the Hills, and a forthcoming volume, Early Hour. He is the translator of Nobel laureate Tomas Traströmer’s The Sorrow Gondola, and is the editor of a volume of David Wevill’s essential writing, To Build My Shadow a Fire. From 2009-2014 he published and edited Tavern Books, a nonprofit literary press dedicated to poetry in translation and the revival of out-of-print world classics. He is a former Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford University, and his work has been honored with a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. His writing has appeared in The New York TimesPoetryBookforumThe BelieverTin HouseAmerican Poetry Review, and on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday and PBS NewsHour. He has taught creative writing at Stanford University, The Michener Center for Writers, and Lewis & Clark College, and for several years has mentored young writers as a Visiting Writer at American International School in Vienna, Austria, and as a faculty member in the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop. He is a member of the creative writing faculty at the University of Idaho.