Michael L. Johnson,
Winnerof the 2010 New Mexico Book Award for poetry.
Michael L. Johnson is an award-winning commentator on the American West, in both prose and poetry. His new collection of poems, Sky Land: A Southwestern Cycle, continues his narrative about a country where the past is present in fossils, archaeology, and lore. These interpenetrate present-day sights, as in the poem “MaríaBenítez at the Radisson,” about a flamenco dancer whose presence resonates with Spanish settlers. Johnson’s essential observations are too important to miss.
--Denise Low, author of Words of a Prairie Alchemist and poet laureate of Kansas, 2007-2009
Johnson mixes travel reportage with the textures of history—personal and social, frontier and pre-Columbian, geological and mythic—to evoke a haunting philosophical portrait of the American Southwest.--Rolf Potts, author of Vagabonding and Marco Polo Didn’t Go There
Johnson’s poems of the Southwest reveal a distinctively American tension between promise and fulfillment, hope and reality. There is pride in what we Westerners and our forebears have accomplished, but there is also a tinge of disappointment, of disillusionment, of regret about what we have made of the region’s huge spaces. Johnson’s poems express powerfully and beautifully these ironies of wish versus history.--Stanley Noyes, author of Los Comanches: The Horse People, 1751-1845 and AllesKaputt: Poems of WWII