Michael Adams published his first poem in a high school literary journal in 1966.
He was the author of six books of poetry and essays that are still in print, including If You Can Still Dance With It(Turkey Buzzard Press, 2012) Steel Valley (Lummox Press, 2010), Whistleblowers (Turkey Buzzard Press 2009), Broken Hand Peak (Turkey Buzzard Press, 2008) Underground (Longhand Press, 2007) and Between Heaven and Earth (Elik Press, 2004). His most recent manuscript, still untitled, will be published by LUMMOX Press in 2014 and will consist of new poems written between 2010 and 2013.
Michael grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood in the heart of the Steel Valley just south of Pittsburgh, PA, and at that time one of the most heavily industrialized areas in the world. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a Master’s degree in planning, both from the University of Pittsburgh. Michael has been a steel worker, urban planner, mountaineering guide, teacher, and natural resource manager. His diverse work experience and upbringing have given him a lifelong passion for issues of social, economic, and environmental justice and a love for the natural world.
He attended the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University in 1988-1989. Michael’s poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies, including The Pedestal, PoLarity, The Midwest Quarterly, Pilgrimage, Mad Blood, Hunger and Thirst, and Desert Shovel. Michael was an accomplished musician and banjo player who sometimes melded his poetry and music. He has performed on radio and television across the country, either alone or as part of the poetry group The Free Radical Railroad. He was the winner of the 2007 Mark Fischer Poetry Prize.
Michael was very active in poetry and the arts, both locally and regionally. He was the chair of the Lafayette, CO Cultural Arts Commission, which has been instrumental in making the visual and literary arts accessible and available to school children, local artists, the disadvantaged and the community at large. He was a Guest Artist with Art From Ashes, a Denver-based non-profit whose mission is to serve and empower struggling youth.
In July of 2011 Michael was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer of the blood and bone marrow. He had struggled with the disease for over two years but remained both physically active and active in community affairs.