Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Poets and Poems: Michael Spence and “Umbilical”

In the 2016 movie Paterson, Adam Driver plays a bus driver named Paterson, who works in the town of Paterson, New Jersey. It’s the same town where the poet William Carlos Williams practiced medicine, and Williams has s a not insignificant presence in the movie. The bus driver is also a poet; he listens to the conversations on his bus and writes poems based on what he hears.

Art, meet life. Or perhaps this is a case of art imitating life.

Flip to the other side of the United States, specifically, Seattle, Washington. For 30 years, Michael Spence was a bus driver for the transit authority, following service in the military. Spence also was, and is, a poet. While he was driving a bus, Spence published four poetry collections. His most recent, Umbilical, published in 2016, won the New Criterion Poetry Prize.

His work has been published in The Chariton ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewThe New York Quarterly, the North American ReviewNotre Dame ReviewThe Sewanee ReviewThe Yale ReviewThe Hudson Review, and many other literary journals as well as anthologies.

To continue reading, please see my post today at Tweetspeak Poetry.

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