about me

Reading at Louisville's Flying Out Loud series in November 2018
Reading at Louisville’s Flying Out Loud series in November 2018.

I’m a writer, as well as a Senior Lecturer in Writing at Indiana University Southeast, where I’ve taught for 14 years. I also served as Academic Affairs Diversity Coordinator there from 2015-2018.  I earned my MA from the University of Louisville, then qualified for a Ph.D. in Composition and Rhetoric, but left without dissertation. In 2012 got my long-awaited MFA in poetry from Spalding University’s Low-Residency Program while teaching a 4/4 load at Southeast as a Lecturer in Writing. I’ve also given dozens of workshops over the decades I’ve been involved in the writing life.

I’ve published fiction, feature journalism, and creative nonfiction. For four years I was a featured weekly essayist on Louisville’s NPR station, WFPL. But these days, I mostly write and publish poetry.

My poem “Mantua, 1606” won second place in the 2014 Raynes Poetry Contest judged by Joan Larkin. A sonnet, “Abandoned Barns,” was runner-up in the 2000 Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred contest judged by Mary Oliver.

Publications

Publications include Hospital Drive, A Narrow Fellow, Jewish Currents, NULU Handwritten, Pegasus, The Thomas Merton Seasonal, The Louisville Review, Scribblers on the Roof, New Southerner, New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, Poetica, The New Sound, and others.

Now and then I give papers, presentations, workshops, and publish an academic paper, such as:

  • “The Strange History of Metaphor” at the Kentucky Philological Association 2014 conference.
  • “The College Ready Writer” in-service at Bullitt Central High School on January 11, 2016
  • An Erasure/Blackout poetry workshop for Marian College in Indianapolis.
  • Metre and Meaning in Jane Kenyon’s ‘Song'”, New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice & Theory of Creative Writing, November, 2016.

You can read my complete bonafides on the vita page and also see some of my publications on the WRITING page.

Contemporary composer Rachel Short set my poem “Thug Faced Moon” for soprano and organ as part of her senior project for Indiana University Southeast’s Music Composition program.

A Love of Mechanical Typewriters, Fountain Pens, and Scrivener Software

I type most manuscripts on a 1940s Smith-Corona Sterling or 1960s Olivetti Lettera 32, or write them with a fountain pen. I have a few favorites, classic Parker 51s, a Pelikan M140 tortoise shell, a couple of Lamys, a Noodler’s flex tip, and use inks by Parker, Noodler, Private Reserve (made in Indiana!), Pilot’s new Irosnizuku line, Herbin, and Pelikan. I do use the computer for some manuscripts. I used to use Microsoft Word, but have switched to an amazing witer’s software called Scrivener.

Olivetti Lettra 32
My Olivetti Lettra 32, a fantastic mechanical typewriter that was the portable workhorse for many journalists and writers.
Smith-Corona Sterling
My 1940s-era Smith-Corona Sterling. Solid and wonderful. Takes a lot of strength to hit those keys. I’ve even taken it to campsites and typed some poems I love on it.

Back in the early 1980s when personal computers were new, I drafted and revised on this Zenith p.c., running DOS and WordPerfect on 2 5″ floppy disks. State of the art and no hard drive! Does anyone remember the awesome WordPerfect? Apparently, it’s still made, though not for the iMac I now use.

My first computer I used for writing, a 1980s Zenith PC with two floppy disks, running DOS and WordPerfect.
My first PC – a Zenith version of the IBM PC, running DOS and two floppy disks and using the famous Intel 8088 microprocessor. See the floppy disk tray to the right? I wrote most of my undergraduate papers for Belmont University and a bunch of short story and poetry manuscripts on it.

Something really important about me: In 2010 I was diagnosed with adult Attention Deficit Disorder. I plan to become a change-agent for understanding ADD, which I see is very poorly understood in academia.

Homesteader

I live in New Albany, Indiana on a roughly 2-acre homestead with my awesome partner, first-rate muse, amanuensis Sarah Dugan, our son Theo, dog Rufus, cat Naomi the foot-stalker, and chickens that we are raising as egg-layers. We also have Theo’s pet hamster, Alfred Squirmy No-cats Hamsterdam, and a 10-gallon tank of tropical fish. Here’s a shot of us visiting Cumberland Caves in Tennessee.

Michael, Sarah and Theo visit Cumberland Caves in Tennessee.
Our chickens enjoy a dust bath.
Our chickens enjoy a dust bath.

Musician

Semi-professionally, I play guitar, dobro and ukulele and sing. I’m currently in the band Molly’s Mutts and we do occasional shows in the area.

A music publicity shot.
A publicity shot of me with guitar on the homestead, and Monty, a great dog who died of lymphoma in 2018. RIP Monty and thanks for the love!
Molly's Mutts perform for the Rootbound Farm Tour
Molly’s Mutts perform for the Rootbound Farm Tour

Well, now you know just about all there is to know about me, a musician, writer and teacher of writing, mostly publishing poetry these days. I hope you enjoyed reading more about me.

I appreciate comments. Thank you!

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