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Poet Michael Dickman shares his powerful prose

By Alyssa Doyle

Respected poet Michael Dickman read some of his powerful prose to eager students and faculty as part of the Visiting Writers Series on Wednesday, Oct. 7, in the Library Auditorium, adding a bit of his wit and humor to the evening.

Dickman reads poems from his multiple book releases. (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)
Dickman reads poems from his multiple book releases. (Kim Iannarone / Photo Editor)

Dickman captured the audience’s attention as soon as he began reading his poem, “Dog Vertigo.”

“That’s a poem about some dogs that I had growing up. My dogs,” Dickman said.

His second poem, “Barnett Newman: Black Fire I,” included commentary about how the title was inspired by painter Barnett Newman.

The poem “Emily Dickinson to the Rescue” was also preceded by a short backstory. “I took a tour of Emily Dickinson’s house in Amherst,” Dickman said. “I was the only one on the tour.”

The middle of his reading was perhaps the most significant part, as he began reading from “Flies.”

“This book ‘Flies’ ended up being made about a couple elegies that I made for my older brother,” Dickman said. “When my older brother committed suicide, for about a month, I had these intense dreams about flies.”

These vivid and recurring dreams inspired him to write a lot of poems about the subject, including “False Start,” “New Green” and “Killing Flies.”

Dickman brought up two volunteers to act out his two full length plays. “50 American Plays” was co-written with his brother, Matthew Dickman. The two students acted out “Colorado is a Sportsman’s Paradise” in addition to “Visit the Beautiful State Parks of Idaho.”

Following the performance, Dickman read “Kenneth Coke Directs Hamlet to Hawaii.”

“I think he has a very nice cadence,” senior English major Rachel Friedman said. “His commentary was very funny.”

“Green Migraine” is Dickman’s upcoming releases of poetry due out sometime in late November or early December of this year and he shared works from that as well.

“My next poem is partly about I memory I have,” Dickman said. “I don’t usually write about things that happen to me. I remember being in my kitchen with my older brother at about nine years old when my mother came in with a hammer asking us to kill the mice in the kitchen. This poem is entitled ‘Mouse Hunt.’”

Dickman ended the evening by reciting “Lullaby,” a poem he wrote about having a baby boy.

“I was so entertained, he brought such life to the reading overall,” said Maura Fox, a sophomore English and secondary education  major. “His poems had such detail. They were so beautiful, to be honest.”

The Writing Communities English class worked hard for over a month to put this Visiting Writers Series together and chose Dickman as the first writer for the fall semester.

“It was satisfying,” said Momoko Oi, a junior English major who helped bring Dickman to the College. “We put in a lot work, and it was great seeing it come to life.”


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