Michael died of a heart attack on Saturday while attending the New England Young Writers Conference in Middlebury, Vermont.
Said MFA in Writing Director Louise Crowley, "We will always remember Michael as a big-hearted and good-natured man, a dedicated and generous teacher, and an accomplished poet who was passionate about his work and helping other writers. Michael retuned to VCFA twice to serve as a graduate assistant and was always willingly there to help whenever we asked something of him. And, we are blessed in that he sent a number of other fine writers our way. We will miss him deeply."
In tribute to our dear friend, his poem, Palimpsest.
Now freshly painted walls
tremble in the hard light of November
with secrets a carpenter
scratched with his framing pencil
Words, little feathers,
that held him up through
his wandering years since a friend
flew them into his blood.
Without understanding, he wrote them
on stair stringers, behind jack posts,
on sill plates and ridge poles.
No moon, but the stars...
With each letter something quivered
within him. Every word a flock of sparrows
whose heartbeats were tiny
hammers building something he never saw,
as if No moon,
was a key or code for everything
he did not know.
But the stars,
symbols for the heaven he built toward.
This is what he left behind as he packed his tools.
After the dust settled and the paint dried,
after the well-made rooms created for strangers,
he scuffed his work- boot way home
wondering what it all means.
No moon, but the stars,
but the morning sky.