Michael Laskey

Michael Laskey is a freelance poet, editor and tutor with many years experience of promoting contemporary poetry.

He founded the international Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in 1989 and directed it through its first decade. In 2008 he stepped down as chairman, but continued to be closely associated with the Festival until 2014.

He also founded the poetry magazine Smiths Knoll with Roy Blackman in 1991. After Roy's death in 2002, he went on editing it with Joanna Cutts until 2012 when they reached issue 50 and ceased publication. They have continued to publish pamphlets by individual poets under the Smiths Knoll imprint. He also runs The Garlic Press which specialises mostly in publishing the work of Suffolk poets.

As a poet he has published five collections and three pamphlets – Cloves of Garlic (1988), which was a joint winner of the second Smith|Doorstop Pamphlet Competition, In the Fruit Cage (1997) and Living by the Sea (2007). His first two collections were both Poetry Book Society Recommendations: Thinking of Happiness (Peterloo, 1991) and The Tightrope Wedding (Smith|Doorstop, 1999), which was also shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. Permission to Breathe (Smith|Doorstop, 2004) was followed by The Man Alone: New & Selected Poems (Smith|Doorstop, 2008) and Weighing the Present (Smith|Doorstop, 2015).

Michael also edited The Very Selected: Edward Thomas (Smith|Doorstop, 2012).


Reviews

Michael Laskey is his own man, so when I compare him to Larkin and Heaney, it is merely to set him in the company where he rightly belongs’ — Craig Raine

‘[He displays] originality of thought and quality of execution’ — Robert Potts, The Guardian

‘Fluent, likeable, user-friendly poems’ — Fleur Adcock, Sunday Times

‘There is an engaging warmth in these poems, and a remarkable imagination’ — William Scammell, Independent on Sunday

‘A sustaining book, sensitive in insight and cadence’ — Michael Hulse, Poetry Review

‘An unflinching celebration’ — Tessa Lewis, PN Review

‘Unflinching, clear, emotionally precise, touching, particular, these are very, very good poems’ — Craig Raine

 

 

Michael Laskey audio

 

Garrison Keillor reading Michael Laskey's poem, 'Nobody', on The Writers' Almanac.


Listen here to Michael reading his work at The Poetry Archive.

 

 

Michael Laskey reading at Poets and Players

ON HAVING GIVEN UP CRICKET

I shall play cricket in heaven
in return for the afternoons
gladly given to the other
pleasure of others’ leisure.

I shall walk, without haste, to the wicket
and nod to the angels kitted
in their whites waiting to discern
the kind of batspirit I am.

And one stroke in heaven, one dream
of a cover drive will redeem
every meeting of bat
and ball I’ve done without.

And I’ll bowl too, come on to bowl
leg-breaks with such control
of flight and slight changes of pace
that one over will efface

the faint regret I now feel.
But best of all I shall field:
alert in the heavenly deep,
beyond the boundary of sleep.

— From 'Thinking of Happiness' (Peterloo, 1991)

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