A collection of essays, written over twenty years, trace the author's literary temperament

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Copyright © 2007, Michael Collier. All rights reserved. Posted July 2007 and January 2008.

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“Michael Collier’s book is refreshing in its refusal to push for one particular aesthetic. He regards his own preference for realism over abstraction as more a matter of temperament than of considered judgment, and respects poets more skeptical than he is about the ability of poetry to connect with the world. The result is an engaging record of his influences and enthusiasms, which are wide enough to include both Whitman and Larkin, both Jorge Borges and William Maxwell.”

—Carl Dennis, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Unknown Friends and Practical Gods


“Michael Collier combines pietas and wildness in these essays on poetry as inheritance, and poetry as struggle. One feels the young man in his ‘rampage of literature,’ and the older writer reflecting on an art that is at once personal and impersonal, deeply matured in the imagination. This is a wise and well-lived book.”

—Rosanna Warren, author of Departure and Stained Glass


“The essays and remembrances in Make Us Wave Back radiate Michael Collier’s characteristic insight and sagacity on every page. Clear-minded, ardent, brightly illuminating the art of poetry, this is as lucid as writing about writing gets.”

—Campbell McGrath, author of Pax Atomica and Florida Poems


National Book Critics Circle Award finalist Michael Collier explores the influences that have made him one of the most distinguished poets of his generation. Make Us Wave Back includes essays on an expansive list of subjects, among them the literary correspondence of William Maxwell; the meaning of the author’s own role as poet laureate of the state of Maryland; the journals of Louise Bogan and how they reveal Bogan’s struggle with her own personal fears as well as the reconstruction of herself as a writer; and many more.



Michael Collier is Professor of English and Codirector of the creative writing program at the University of Maryland. He is also director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He is the author of several books of poems, including The Clasp and Other Poems, The Folded Heart, and The Ledge.