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Michael Palmer
(USA, 1943)   
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Michael Palmer

Michael Palmer was born in New York City and educated at Harvard University, where he edited Joglars magazine with Clark Coolidge. In 1969 he moved to San Francisco where he now lives. Palmer has written over a dozen books of poetry, and has translated poetry from Spanish, French, Portuguese and Russian. His work has been translated into over twenty-five languages. He is a contributing editor to Facture magazine and has taught and lectured at many colleges and universities around the United States and in Europe. He has also collaborated extensively with choreographers and dance companies, visual artists and composers, including Margaret Jenkins, Micaëla Henich, Sandro Chia, Gerhard Richter, Irving Petlin and Augusta Talbot.

In his poetry, Palmer confronts notions of representation and habits of language and addresses the political, in response to living in a time when, he notes, "even death and the self have been re-configured as commodities". Palmer has described the trajectory of his work as "moving a little bit away from radical syntax into the mysteries of ordinary language, in the philosophical if not everyday sense". Critics find traces in his work of Louis Zukofsky, Paul Celan and Samuel Beckett, as well as surrealism, philosophical and linguistic theory, yet Palmer defies categorisation. Robert Hass has written, "His poetry is at once a dark and comic interrogation of the possibilities of representation in language, but its continuing surprise is its resourcefulness and its sheer beauty", while Brighde Mullins argues that in an age "of the Eye over the Ear, Palmer's insistence on Sound evokes a subtextual joy".

Michael Palmer's numerous awards include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, the American Award for Poetry and the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America. From 1999 to 2004, he was a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

© Don Share


Poetry books and chapbooks
Plan of the City of O, Barn Dreams Press, Boston, MA, 1971
Blake's Newton, Black Sparrow Press, Santa Barbara, CA, 1972
C's Songs, Sand Dollar Books, Berkeley, CA, 1973
Six Poems, Black Sparrow Press, Santa Barbara, 1973
The Circular Gates, Black Sparrow Press, Santa Barbara, CA, 1974
Poems, Sand Dollar Books, Berkeley, CA, 1976
Without Music, Black Sparrow Press, Santa Barbara, CA, 1977
Alogon, Tuumba Press, Berkeley, CA, 1980
Transparency of the Mirror, Little Dinosaur Press, Albany, CA, 1980
Notes for Echo Lake, North Point Press, Berkeley, CA, 1981
First Figure, North Point Press, Berkeley, CA, 1984
Songs for Sarah, Lobster Cove Editions, Annisquam, MA, 1987
For a Reading, DIA Art Foundation, New York, NY 1988
Sun, North Point Press, Berkeley, CA, 1988
An Alphabet Underground, After Hand, Viborg, Denmark, 1993
At Passages, New Directions, New York, NY, 1995
The Lion Bridge: Selected Poems, 19721995, New Directions, New York, NY, 1998
The Promises of Glass, New Directions, New York, NY, 2000
Codes Appearing: Poems, 19791988, New Directions, New York, NY, 2001
Company of Moths, New Directions, New York, NY, 2005
The Counter-Sky (selected poems with translations by Koichiro Yamauchi), Meltemia Press, 2007
Aygi Cycle (poems inspired by the Russian poet Gennadiy Aygi), Druksel, Ghent, 2009
Truths of Stone, Druksel (With Jan Lauwereyns) Ghent, Belgium, 2010
Thread, New Directions (New York), 2011
The Laughter of the Sphinx, New Directions (New York, New York), 2016. 

Selected translations
Arthur Rimbaud, Voyelles, Arif Press, Berkeley, CA, 1980
in The Selected Poetry of Vicente Huidobro, New Directions, New York, NY, 1981
in The Random House Book of Twentieth-Century French Poetry, Random House, 1982
Alain Tanner and John Berger, Jonah who will be 25 in the Year 2000, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA, 1983
(with Norma Cole) The Surrealists Look at Art, Lapis Press, Culver City, CA, 1990
Emmanuel Hocquard, Theory of Tables, o-blek editions, Stockbridge, MA, 1994
(with John High and Michael Molnar) Alexei Parshchikov, Blue Vitriol, Avec Books, Penngrove, CA, 1994
Emmanuel Hocquard, Three Moral Tales, The Noble Rider, Paris, France, 1996
in Nothing the Sun Could Not Explain: 20 Contemporary Brazilian Poets, Sun & Moon Press, Los Angeles, CA, 1997; Green Integer Books, Los Angeles, CA, 2003

Idem 1-4, radio plays, 1979
Code of Signals: Recent Writings in Poetics (editor), North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA, 1983
The Danish Notebook, Avec Books, Penngrove, CA, 1999
Active Boundaries: Selected Essays and Talks, New Directions, New York, NY, 2008


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