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Contributor Spotlight on Michael Bazzett

by Dan Froid

In a November 11 tweet, Michael Bazzett wrote, “#NaNoWriMo Tip #93: Imagine the words ‘Lacerating, ‘Cutting,’ and ‘Trenchant’ on the back cover as you dip your pen in blood.” That should give you some idea of his witty and slightly wacky Twitter persona—a persona that also carries over to his poetry. Bazzett manages to strike a balance between the amusing and the unnerving. Take , for example, “The People Who Came Afterward”:

lived oblivious to the drifting veils of rain.
There were no fences. The point of existence
was to gather things in concentric rings
so possessions formed the hive where you lived.
It was the most effective prison ever devised
by humans. When the downpour came to melt
it away, filling depressions with grit and soft clay,
pottery shards returned to their element—bones       
came unbound. Glass rose like fins from the ground.

That poem appeared with two others in the fall 2014 issue of Prairie Schooner. Publishers Weekly also highlighted it in a favorable review that noted Bazzett’s “mercurial sensibility and loose-woven free verse” on full display in You Must Remember This, Bazzett’s new debut full-length collection of poetry.

You Must Remember This was released just last week by Milkweed Editions. Bazzett received the 2014 Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry, a prize that supports and celebrates poets from the Upper Midwest, for You Must Remember This. This year’s judge, Kevin Prufer, compared Bazzett to Jorge Luis Borges, Charles Simic, Steven Millhauser, and Phillip K. Dick, while also noting that he is “unlike anyone else at work in America.”

Bazzett is also the author of two chapbooks, The Imaginary City (OW! Arts, 2012) and The Unspoken Jokebook (Burning River Press, 2013). For more from Bazzett online, check out his poems “Lying in the Hammock” on Diagram and “Binary” on Green Mountains Review. His interview with Carolyn Supinka for The 22 Magazine is—are you sensing a trend here?—odd and funny (his next travel destination? “I think I’d like to give troll-hunting in Norway a try”). And while we endure the throes of National Novel Writing Month, follow him on Twitter, where he’s continuing to deliver valuable #NaNoWriMo tips.