Poet and novelist Mary di Michele is the author of over 12 books, including selected poems, Stranger in You, and the novel, Tenor of Love. Her awards include the CBC Literary Prize, the Confederation Poets Prize, and the Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize. Luminous Emergencies was short-listed for the Trillium Book Award; Debriefing the Rose and The Flower of Youth for the A.M. Klein Prize. She is part of the writing group Yoko’s Dogs with Jane Munro, Susan Gillis, and Jan Conn. Her latest collection of poetry, Bicycle Thieves, was published with ECW in 2017 and short-listed for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Mary lives in Montreal and teaches at Concordia.
I fell in love with poetry at an earlier age, in grade school, teacher was surprised that I loved the memorization & recitation task we were assigned. Keats’s “La Belle Dame sans Merci” and poetry has held me enthralled ever since I read the poem.
I started to write poems in high school; I did not think of myself as a poet until my poems started to be published in journals in the seventies.
I think of it as a vocation like a priest’s, not a job, to study and celebrate and perhaps even proselytize for poetry.
I was visiting a museum in Greece when I saw the statute of a satyr sleeping on a wine flask. I thought how different it was from the torso of Apollo that Rilke describes in his poem that ends “you must change your life”. I think my poem suggests life changes you if you do not heed that call. Or it changes you anyway.