TML> Michael Salinger - Bio

Michael Salinger

Has been writing and performing poetry and fiction for over 20 years. In this time he has become a fixture in the performance poetry and education community performing and teaching in over 145 cities in 28 countries. His work has appeared in dozens of literary journals published across the US and Canada, including Poetry Magazine, Sapphire Magazine, Taproot the Detroit Metro Times and the Cleveland Free Times.

Five time captain and coach of the Cleveland Slam team that represented the city at the National Poetry Slam competition, he has also served as a consultant and board member to Poetry Slam, Inc., the governing body of Poetry Slams across the country. He currently directs the organization's summer writing and performance conference held at the campus of SUNY, Oneonta in Oneonta New York. He is the founder and director of the Nova Lizard project, a seminal performance troupe in Cleveland, Ohio and chief facilitator of the teen writing and performance program at Cleveland's Playhouse Square Foundation - the second largest performing arts center in the United States after Broadway.

His latest publication, Stingray , was published by Word Smith Press of Ann Arbor in 2007. A collection of humorous poems defining S.A.T vocabulary words is due out in 2008 from Boyds Mills Press.

He has co-authored a professional book with author Sara Holbrook titled Outspoken: How to Improve Writing and Speaking Skills Through Performance Poetry.

He has taught workshops in colleges, high schools and middle schools, including Oberlin, Muskinghum, Kent State, Bowling Green and Case Western Reserve Universities. He was a featured author at the Writer's Week program of Fremd High School (considered the model for such programs in the country) in Chicago and the instructor/coach for the Case Western Reserve University National College Poetry Slam Team. He is a frequent presenter at national, state and local teacher conferences offering professional development ideas for middle and upper school teachers. He has presented at the Earcos international conference in Ho Chi Minh City, The Arabian Reading Association in Manama, Bahrain and has also done residencies at international schools in Shanghai, China and Isa Town, Bahrain.

Salinger has served on the board of directors of Cleveland Public Theatre, is the current vice president of the Poet's and Writer's League of Greater Cleveland and has served a juror for the Cleveland Performance Art Festival.

He currently lives in Mentor, Ohio.

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Artist's statement:

With my poetry I hope to invoke a specific time and place through the use of vivid imagery. I believe it is the poet's job to recreate an instant in their reader's mind. By attaching strong visual language to a narrative format I want my readers to use their own experiences to layer meaning and metaphor to the work. To paraphrase T.S. Eliot, I too believe that the structure of a piece should be "…the meat the burglar uses to distract the dog while he goes about his work." This does not mean that my writing is void of meaning for myself, but rather I believe that my reader brings his or her own life experience and vocabulary to a written work. So while a piece may have a certain nuance to me as the author, I hope to write in a way that consents to multiple metaphorical meanings validated by the reader's own interpretations. For me, a piece is not truly a poem unless it can be understood in multiple ways and levels upon subsequent readings.

I write poetry because I love the craft of molding language into figurative form. Rhythm, structure and sound are tools that I admire in others work and strive for in my own. I consider craft as important as content, but do not subscribe to the craft for craft's sake genre espoused in some academic writing. For me poetry is to be shared with all walks of life not just literary critics. I understand that I write to share moments of clarity, instants of realization that almost all occasions hold reason for reflection when analyzed in detail. I write to share these moments, whether they are collected from the window of an airplane, on a fishing pier in North Carolina, or amongst the clatter of machines on factory floor.

I gather my subject matter in passing. The focus of my work tends to be my everyday life, my family, my daily pursuits punctuated by minor epiphanies. I believe archetypes reside within the details of day-to-day life. I present my work through page, performance and as a creative writing instructor and educational consultant encouraging others to develop their own voices as well as trusting in their interpretation of creative writing. While I have been writing poetry for over 20 years, using my writing as a vehicle for teaching is a new direction for me that I have embraced with enthusiasm over the last five years. I truly believe that writing and reading poetry makes for a better world. As our former poet laureate Kooser said, "There are a lot worse things a person could be doing than writing poetry."

Michael Salinger