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Michael Palmer was born in New York City in 1943. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Codes Appearing: Poems 1979-1988 (2001), The Promises of Glass (2000), The Lion Bridge: Selected Poems 1972-1995 (1998), At Passages (1996), Sun (1998), First Figure (1984), Notes for Echo Lake (1981), Without Music (1977), The Circular Gates (1974) and Blake’s Newton (1972).

Palmer’s work has appeared in literary magazines such as Boundary 2Berkeley Poetry ReviewSulfurConjunctions, and O-blek. His honours include two grants from the Literature Program of the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship. In 1999, Palmer was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. He lives in San Francisco.

Palmer was the 2006 recipient of the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. The $100,000 (US) prize recognizes outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.

The Company of Moths

New Directions Publishing
2006 Shortlist
United States

Judges’ Citation

How listen, where dwell?’, asks Michael Palmer in a book whose continuous questioning only ever opens out to the surprising generosity of a kind of equivocation.

How listen, where dwell?’, asks Michael Palmer in a book whose continuous questioning only ever opens out to the surprising generosity of a kind of equivocation. That is, more questions, rather than a rectitude, follow from reflection, and they are the kinds of familiar questions we pose to a companion we love: ‘what of what wolfhound at full stride?’ ‘Did the glare bother us?’ ‘can you hear what I’m thinking …?’ His sequences shimmer on the edge of the surreal, scattering the suggestions of a symbolic plenitude pertains to a life lived with a dexterous consciousness of the necessity of transience. This is the world in its multiple thing-ness, with no gratuitous attitudinizing.