Michael Schmidt

Michael Schmidt OBE FRSL is the founder and editorial director of Carcanet Press and PN Review and was Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University and then at the University of Glasgow, and writer in residence at St John's College, Cambridge. He is a poet, novelist, literary historian and anthologist. 

Michael is an authoritative figure in contemporary poetry, an experienced public speaker and a powerful and engaging reader of his own work.

In 2006, Michael was awarded an O.B.E. for services to poetry and higher education.

His Selected Poems, acclaimed Resurrection of the Body, Collected Poems and Resurrection of the Body are published by Smith/Doorstop.

 The Stories of My Life will be published in October 2013.




'Schmidt is always a stringent poet, never shy of painful truth' — Helen Dunmore, The Observer

'Vibrant, radiant, Michael Schmidt's poetry is steeped in modernist tradition (Yeats and Eliot) and questingly new. The result is a passionate discourse that is at once earthy and numinous, from which "flows that unusual grace which is rooted in muscle, / Which comes from the marrow and lymph, which is divine.' — John Ashbery

'There is enough love, attention to detail and creative energy in Schmidt for us to expect something astonishing from him in the future.' — Sebastian Barker

Review of Michael Schmidt’s The Stories of My Life

in Poetry London Summer 2015

Michael Schmidt audio

Michael Schmidt at The Poetry Archive


Whom shall I invite? The centrepiece 
Is five red apples on a walnut dish. 
The table takes their sheen. Whom 
Shall I invite to what the trees provide? 

Before I choose a guest I go outside. 
It is evening almost, almost winter here: 
Under the apple tree a pungent mud of fruit, 
One bough fractured by the wealth it bears. 

I have chosen. And will she come? 
It is like necromancy to invite 
The guest who yesterday, the day before, 
Laughing, turned to darkness at my board. 

Absence I will invite. I will invite 
The morning birds, and I will not ask her. 
The birds will not come, and she will not come. 
The sheen will pass from fruit into the dark. 

It is too late to eat, too late to ask. 
I shall say grace but break no bread. 
The lamp will not be lit; I shall sit still 
As shadow takes the taste instead. 

Here is my bed. How the scent of apples clings 
To my breathing, and the scent of her. 
I am alarmed 
How nothing leaves me, though the light is gone. 

— From Collected Poems (2009)

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