Michael Lavers Given Scholarship Award


This year the English Department Scholarship Award goes to Michael Lavers, a prolific and extremely talented poet who lands work in first-tier journals like Georgia Review, Ploughshares, and Antioch Review. In 2017, he published fourteen poems; in 2018, seventeen; and last year, eleven poems, a short story, and a debut poetry collection, After Earth, which won The Tampa Review Prize. He has twice won the well-endowed University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize. (Since when can a poet make enough off a single poem to buy a really nice used Subaru?) His poems, always richly allusive, are also contemporary—and deliver a wallop of lived wisdom. They appeal both to the mind and to the heart. This quote from Moby-Dick speaks to Michael’s well-rounded sensibility: “I have perceived that in all cases, man must eventually . . . shift his conceit of attainable felicity, not placing it” only in “the intellect or the fancy” but in “the wife, the heart, the bed, the table, the saddle, the fire-side, the country.” As for technique, Professor Lavers has grown extremely adept at subtleties of syntax, diction, imagery, metaphor, and sonic pleasure. It’s almost as if he’s using his own private dictionary, which of course he is. That’s what we call voice.