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last update:
30 Dec16

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and in the shop…
collections –
“Bloomvale Home”
original plus
– also as bi-lingual collection,
“Toward the Heliopause”
Mad Jock (UK) Poetic Matrix (US)
“Letting in the Light”
anthology –
“Loffing Matters”
Tindall Press



this poet is taking part in the poetry pRO project
this poet is published in the Series project
this poet is taking part in the poetry tREnD project


Joan Michelson published essays, reviews and short fiction before she turned to poetry in 1998. Her chapbook, Letting in the Light, won the Editor’s Prize, Poetic Matrix Publishers, California, 2002. Her collection, Toward the Heliopause, was published by Mad Jock Publishers, Liverpool, 2007, and, by Poetic Matrix Publishers, USA, 2011; her chapbook, Bloomvale Home, by Original Plus Books, UK, 2016; her collection, Landing Stage, SPM Publications, UK, 2017. Joan’s poem Muslim Girl won the Hamish Canham Poetry Society UK Prize, 2012. Lament was performed as a choral work by the UW-Green Bay Chorale, University of Wisconsin, 2010. Amen won first prize in Londonarts.co International Competition, 2004, chosen by Poet Laureate Andrew Motion. Daxon Fraser won first prize in the Torriano Poetry Competition, 2014, Storyteller, first prize in the Bristol Poetry Competition, 2015. Poems were prizewinners or finalists in Strokestown International Poetry Competition, the Scottish International Open Poetry Competition, Yorkshire Open Poetry Competition, Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition, the Bridport Prize. Joan’s work appears in the British Council anthologies of New Writing, 1994,1995,2006, in The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review, 2009, and in Loffing Matters, Tindal Street Press, Birmingham, 2007.
Joan was ‘Poet-in-Residence’ at The Studios of Key West, Florida, April 2012. She was appointed ‘Thornton’s Budgens’ Poet Laureate’ in 2011. She has been the recipient of numerous other awards including writing residencies at the Virginia Center for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, the Ragdale Foundation, the Atlantic Center of the Arts, the Djerassi Foundation, CA, Fundaciòn Valparaiso, Spain, VCCAFrance, and Sangam House, India. She was awarded a Poetry Society Placement for a Whittington Hospital, London, Radio Poetry Project, a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Grant to run community workshops in Haringey, London and a Haringey Professional Teacher’s Centre Grant for a schools writing project.
Toward the Heliopause was selected as a Book of the Year, 2007, Ready Steady Book, and as Poetry Kit Book of the Month, March 2008. The updated US edition, 2011, is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other web book distributors. Bloomvale Home is available from Sam Smith Original Plus Chapbooks.
Responses to Joan’s work:

a good sense of drama and a fine ear


C K Williams (USA) Pulitzer Prize Poet


marvellous, mysterious.


U A Fanthorpe (UK) Oxford Professor of Poetry


Comments on Bloomvale Home:

I was surprised at how much I like these poems because I am a difficult reader of poetry. These got through to me because of how direct they are. They are also clear and sympathetic. I was pleased that they did not sink to sentimentality.


Diana Athill (99), Alive Alive Oh


These plain spoken and unflinchingly compassionate new poems by Joan Michelson show how life at the end of life goes on with all its usual flourish and surprise.


Kate Bingham, Poet, Infragreen


With their finely-calibrated tone of voice, Joan Michelson’s new poems vividly document the practicalities, mundane details and inevitable fate of those who live in Bloomvale Home. At the same time, she moves us powerfully with her portraits of the residents’ confusions, heroism and still-vigorous emotions. One of the residents bursts into song in a “language strange”; in a similar way, this highly original book makes for essential – if often uncomfortable – reading for us all.


Martyn Crucifix, Poet, Daodejing, a Modern Translation


These finely observed and compassionate poems give the reader a vivid sense of what might be in store for any of us.


Carol Satyamurti, Poet, Mahabharata – a Modern Retelling


Comments on Toward the Heliopause:

In an unflinching retracing of emotions and events, travelling a journey of breathtaking range, Joan’s poems pursue the heart of loss and the tenacious loving needed to face unexpected bereavement and move on.


Gillie Bolton, Medicine and the Arts, King College, London, UK


This is a haunting, beautiful collection. Joan Michelson has registered the presence of absence. We feel Geoffrey Adkins in his own marvelously alert creations. Joan’s poems speak to his while possessing their own burnished solidity with a rueful, honest sense of being on one’s own.


Baron Wormser, Poetry Professor, The Frost Center, NH, USA


A delicate, elegiac collection


Michelene Wandor, Poet and Playwright


In here dwell the ghosts of history and personhood. Individual poems are close to memory, are built on its bones. We feel the flesh there.


George Szirtes, T S Eliot Prize Poet