April’s Featured Poet: Jacob Sebastian Santiago

I am delighted to share this poem about the many forms of forgiveness—a concept that is so deceptively simple and essential to human beings. Jacob Sebastian Santiago, a current MFA candidate at the University of Mississippi, is certainly a poet to follow. I wholeheartedly welcome him to the Michigan Poet.

Click here to download press-quality PDF for printing.

Spring 2021 Featured Poem

I hope March has greeted you somewhat warmly. Believe it or not, the Spring poem has arrived.

Leland James contemplates splitting wood in “Splitting Time.” The poem’s speaker has a confident voice that sets me at ease. Amanda Humphrey provides an eye-catching illustration of stacked wood-meets-fungi. I truly appreciate the contribution of talent from both artists. I hope you enjoy the broadside:

February’s Poem

As I was spreading rock salt on the sidewalk yesterday, I thought about this poem. I shook a canister freeing each small, irregularly-shaped piece that had been “freed after eons of dark solitude” and thought about how they will eventually make their way back underground. I will likely think of the poem every time I salt the walk from now on. It’s a great poem on a subject that I had never contemplated much before. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Winter 2020 Poem

I am thrilled to present The Michigan Poet‘s latest poem, “What to Do About Winter” by  Joanna White:

I hope the poem prepares you for snowfall and frozen ponds that are soon to come. A full-size illustration by Katie Nealis accompanies Joanna’s poem. The illustrations from my talented friends and coworkers always impress me.

W0rking on The Michigan Poet has been a highlight of an otherwise rough year, and I appreciate Foster and Jon for trusting me with the publication. In the new year I plan to return to a poem-of-the-month format with eight digital poems and four seasonal broadsides in both print and digital formats. This method will allow me to share poems that do not fit the size or theme of the seasonal broadsides. Prepare for more poets in more formats next year.

Speaking of, submissions will re-open on January 1st, 2021. Go to https://michiganpoet.submittable.com/submit for more information. Please note that these submissions will likely be published the following year due to a number of submissions still in the queue. Simultaneous submissions and previously-published works are accepted as long as acknowledgment is provided. I look forward to reading your submissions.

Here’s to happy holidays and a brighter next year.

All my best,

Michael Hylton
Editor of The Michigan Poet

Fall 2020 Poem

I am pleased to present The Michigan Poet‘s latest poem, “Wait for Me” by  Randall Freisinger:


He also provided some thoughtful commentary on his craft and on his poem’s inspiration:
  “William Kloefkorn, State Poet of Nebraska until his death in 2011, defined a poem as ‘words nibbling at the edge of something vast.’ My poems attempt to say the unsayable, and do so with words that, ultimately, fail because, nibbling at the edge, they never truly equal the things to which they refer. But words are all I have, so I employ them as best as I can to connect with readers. Each of my poems amounts to a passenger bus. As driver of that bus, I intend to drive my readers somewhere, making our destination apparent and the ride itself pleasurable. A recognizable destination speaks to the poem’s accessibility. Pleasure along the way comes from energy and surprise, both of which derive from how well I handle subject matter and from such craft issues as fresh imagery, interesting syntax and line breaks, and engaging uses of sound. Good poems raise questions but need not answer them. Such poems typically leave the reader with important matters to ponder.
Many years ago, my best friend died suddenly at the age of 37. I left his memorial service convinced that all of his intelligence and energy must still exist somehow, somewhere. A stiff breeze animated the trees outside the chapel, and I imagined my friend astride that wind. A few years later I married the wife he left behind and became father to his two young sons. Much older now, and closer to Time’s unavoidable partings, I listen to the wind more intently, hear it continue to speak ineffably of continuity. ‘Wait For Me’ is my effort to nibble at this particular bit of ‘something vast.'”

That’s all for now. I wish you all a safe and bountiful Fall season. I am grateful for the opportunity to bring you poems from talented Michigan poets like Randall. Until the next issue coming later this year, happy reading.

All my best,

Michael Hylton
Editor of The Michigan Poet

SUMMER 2020 ISSUE AND PUBLICATION UPDATE

The Michigan Poet sincerely hopes your summer has been safe and filled with small moments of joy as we navigate this truly challenging time. It would seem that poetry is as important as ever as we collectively take time to slow down and hopefully observe small moments with appreciation. In a recent email to me, Foster, founder of MP, wrote that “these observations are the foundation of poetry, and great poetry serves to sharpen our senses and our sense of ourselves as we try to navigate a tragic time.” I agree wholeheartedly.

What’s New with The Michigan Poet?

Speaking of Foster, he has decided to take a step back from the role of editor and to has allowed me, a longtime friend and admirer of the publication, to step in and take the editing reigns. Jon Taylor will continue to assist with the website and with behind-the-scenes work, and Foster will still advise as I navigate the nuances of running a publication. Many thanks to them!

Summer Issue

So, this broadside is my first—I hope you like it. Colleen Alles wrote a fitting poem for summer evenings, especially in late August. Jonathan Higgins, professional illustrator, drew a beautiful banded tussock moth as a companion to the poem. I’ve generated PDF files of the 11 × 17 broadside as well as a 8.5 × 11 letter size for you to print and affix wherever you see fit. I even created a variant broadside that you may receive if you would like to commit to distributing press-quality issues of MP to your favorite public places like bulletin boards or posts, wherever you think people will stop to read it. Please email themichiganpoet@gmail.com if you are interested in distributing and would like more details.


Note from the Editor

This publication is focused on poetry, but it would be remiss of me not to offer some transparency on the selection process, especially with a new editor at the helm. I’m incredibly proud of the submissions we have received to date as I (slowly) work through responding to them, and I will never select poems simply to fill demographics. With that being stated, I will seek to fill the submission pool with even more unique voices, regardless of number of poems published, colleges attended, age, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, gender, or identity. I will also be working to broaden the scope of MP to better include the eastern cities like Detroit and Metro Detroit, Flint, and Saginaw, among others by working with writing programs in the area. As an alumnus of Ferris State University (Class of 2012), I still have love for the western side of the state and hope that MP will still be a presence in those areas, too. I am trusting that each of you will do your part in spreading the publication far and wide because MP does not advertise or self-promote in any way.

I do hope you continue to read and interact with the poems published at The Michigan Poet, which will remain quarterly for now. I also hope that you continue to support poetry, as well as all arts, in your local communities because community is as important as it has ever been. Thank you for reading.

All my best,

Michael Hylton
Editor of TheMichigan Poet