Our April 8 program on Poetry and Small Press Publishing features Michael Poage, who has written poetry daily since the afternoon he sat in on a class at the University of Montana taught by the poet, Richard Hugo, at age twenty-three, an introvert and terrified Hugo would call on him. He did. Voice shaky, Mike read several of his poems. After what seemed a long silence, Hugo said, “These are good. Who are you' Go to the administration building today and enroll in the M.F.A. program in poetry.”
Within a few years, he was working as Poet in the Schools in Montana and, after acquiring another Master’s Degree, moved to Kansas where several generations of his family had lived. For twenty-five years Mike pastored three United Church of Christ churches—in Council Grove, Lawrence, and Wichita. Every night, regardless of the demands on his day, he wrote poems and submitted them to journals, contests and publishers. Nine of his manuscripts were published and a tenth, the first five collected volumes, will be in print this spring: BORN (Black Stone Press,1975); Handbook of Ornament Black Stone Press, 1979); The Gospel of Mary (Woodley Press, 1997); god won’t overlook us (Penthe Press, 2001); Abundance (219 Press, 2004); Voice Over (Sea Cliff Media, 2012); And So It Goes (Sea Cliff Media, 2014); The Comedic Applicant (Blue Cedar Press, 2015); The Average Level of Happiness (Blue Cedar Press, 2016); and Human INK (Blue Cedar Press, 2017).
Mike’s poems are published in more than twenty-six journals, including Cutbank, Chiron Review, Roanoke Review, Cumberland Poetry Review, Coal City Review, Hidden Oak, I-70 Review, Poetry Harbor, Ibbetson St. Press, Nimrod International Journal, Joyful Noise: An Anthology of American Spiritual Poetry (Autumn House), Poetry East, Pegasus, The Texas Observer, Hazmat Review, Muse & Stone, Cider Press Review, Confrontation, Chaffin Journal, Taos International Journal of Art and Poetry, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Common Ground Review, Hanging Loose, Intro 5, Cafeteria, The Wakarusa Wetlands in Word and Image, Prism Quarterly, Café Review and Mudfish. One of his poems was selected by the Galway University Hospitals Arts Trust for public display in Galway, Ireland in 2014. In 2016 in Salina he performed a set of his tone poems set to music by Laura Dungan.
In 2015 he started an independent press to publish unique voices from the Prairie and the Planet which has published six books so far.
District 5 meets on Saturday, April 8, from 1:30-3:30 at Larksfield Place, 7373 E. 29th St. N., Wichita KS 67226. (just west of Rock Rd on the south side of 29th Street). Follow sign arrow to the Visitors Center parking and enter the Welcome Entrance adjacent to that lot. Walk left through the dining room into the Lakeview Room.
Meetings are open to the public, free of charge.