BOOKS & REVIEWS

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Reviews:

 
 
 
 
 
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Reviews:

Interviews (because reviews aren't enough):

 

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"Michael Patrick Collins is at the height of his creative powers in Appearances. Always expert at integrating myth into contemporary life, making it not merely relevant but urgent, his work is both intimate and universal. Collins delves into the mysteries of the human heart, memory, nostalgia, regret, loss, and love with almost unbearable poignancy, but without sentimentality. A careful observer of the endangered natural world and the precarious inner life, he has both the keen eye of Bishop and the soul of Yeats. What an explosive combination this marriage of sensibilities produces--a singular voice of conviction and inquiry. Collins is no stranger to self-examination and self-argument. The entire book can be read as a dialogue with the self that explores the ways things are often more than they seem: 'Ducks have transformed into pigeons/for winter, their pastel paintings;/the snow-suited woman kneeling to pray/remakes the lone, cold beach into a temple.' Never finished probing his suppositions, the restless voice in this collection holds his knowledge of myth, history, the canon, philosophy as he interrogates and discovers his own beliefs. This speaker bears his soul in his poems and we are the richer for it."

Jennifer Franklin, author of Looming

"In shimmering poems of double vision, Michael Collins offers walking meditations of the harbor he visits when he fears 'his soul has fled forever.' Driven by the predations of the world, he circles the 'mirrors of this haven,' startled into wakefulness and linguistic wit by orphic fish, 'quacking sandals' and 'sacrosanct mallards,' recasting myth and metaphysics in poems whose inventive formal and visual inversions upend any sense of solidity. This slipperiness of language and image opens into a spacious vision of 'fresh joy' that returns the speech-fused soul to a 'new body that can hold it.' We know from the title--Appearances--that things are not as they seem, but these poems poised at land's end reveal the marvelous seam that joins all worlds in one."

J. C. Todd, author of What Space This Body

"These urgent, spiritually searching poems glint with evocative description, fresh language, and inventive forms. This is a book rather than a collection, moving through close observations of sea and shore, to an often humorous self-awareness, and ultimately to a discovery of meaning in the 'appearances,' as in: 'I've finished losing the world I thought I controlled; in the tiny light/flecks on delicate wavelets dawn and haven face one another.' Intellectually rigorous and subtly moving, Appearances is a pleasure to read and re-read."

Joan Aleshire, author of Happily


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"Michael Patrick Collins confronts the conflicts of the modern world with a mystic's intensity. The music in these poems, their fierce proclamations and sideways spirituality, remind me of James Wright, Trakl, or Rilke, but the voice in PSALMANDALA may speak with that authority and within the lyric poem's best traditions, but there is a strangeness here that is all new, and all this poet's, and this book is a thrilling find."

—Laura Kasischke

"I’m not sure how Michael Patrick Collins manages it—a collection that at once feels ancient and absolutely new, that can reference the “interwebs” and Tartarus in a single gesture, can address Death as a “sociopathic jackwagon” whose realm is a “psychotic little kleptocracy” and make me laugh and weep my ass off and search the interwebs so I don’t feel so stupid. Just when I’m ready to compare him to Eliot I’m spinning out in the territory of e.e. cummings, where Collins smooshes words together into goofyaccurate compounds—troubadubescent? homeosociopath?—that make my right brain collide with my left. Devotional as a psalm, circuitous as a mandala, Psalmandala is a hybrid work of shamanic genius. It ought to blow up poetryworld and the “corpseworld” of America like “Song of Myself” and “Howl” did in their time. I beseech thee to let these poems apocalypse you."

—Diane Seuss 


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Winner of the 2014 Exact Change Press Chapbook Contest

Winner of the 2014 Exact Change Press Chapbook Contest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Available for Purchase Here

As exquisitely designed as a mandala itself, Michael Collins’ Harbor Mandala vividly captures a soul’s search for itself at Mamaroneck Harbor, “this rough, slumbering sanctuary where nature redreams itself.” This poet settles for no sentimental redemption (“redreams,” not “redeems”): the soul finds itself in the rough, ordinary world: “a bird dragging / branches up to the top of the flood lights / of the baseball diamond.” Mandalas are sometimes painted in sand by monks knowing their gorgeous image will be washed away. Harbor Mandala brilliantly probes the paradox of a world where the beauty of nature includes “clams’ shells cast down / to be shattered by hungry gulls,” while a gasoline spill’s reflection reveals the beauty of “that awful light.”

Robert Thomas

What could be more certain and yet more changing than the tides? Michael Collins’ piercing vision settles on a harbor offering solace, yet is also a place where it is difficult to distinguish between what is real, what is reflection. Although the speaker longs for wholeness, the poems themselves are often in two columns “. . . the between within which I listen.” Here is a mirrored world that leaves “. . . halves of clam shells / lined up like tombstones.” These deeply meditative poems, that explore the cycle of life and death, echo Yeats’ own observation that “There is another world but it is in this one.”

Gail Peck, author of Within Two Rooms


 

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“ ‘Stuffed with the stuff that is coarse, and stuffed with the stuff that is fine,’ this book enacts the obsessive/compulsive (and impulsive) world of all of us poets (past and present) who are also close-readers of ourselves.  Collins’ remarkably handsome use of the line and his freedom to let poems live as sequences of breath remind us poems are alive.”  —Christian Anton Gerard

“…an intelligent, snarky and witty compilation of poems circling the themes of growth, acceptance and consciousness with nods to the smiles from tongue kissing in a dark, parked car, the acceptance that comes with the realization that you will never sleep with Natalie Portman, and wisdom.”

Stephanie Bryant-Anderson, Red Paint Hill Quarterly

Copyright 2015 by Michael P. Collins