Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan is director of the MFA Program in Poetry at the University of California–Irvine. His books have won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, among many other awards. His new book of poems, This Morning, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in March.

July/Aug 2016

A Divorce

By Michael Ryan

for S. You say that you are leaving her. Life as it is shouldn’t be. Love rarely conquers, much less all. She doesn’t see what she can’t see. But who […]

Mar/Apr 2016

The Mercy Home

By Michael Ryan

Your mother died in fear. No one was with her. You didn’t want to be with her. The last time you saw her, two months before, while you were saying […]

Spring 2012

Campus Vagrant

By Michael Ryan

"I no longer privilege myself," he says, then makes his hand into a blade, a chest-high single half a prayer with my dollar he didn't ask for slotted between his […]

Winter 2001

Tribute

By Michael Ryan

I can't give the king nothing but eggs, I thought waking up. Deeper you slept beneath the predawn light,   barely a half-lumen all sponged up around you by the […]

Winter 2001

Rooting

By Michael Ryan

The crowd's a bully with a bully's need: to crush weakness and see it bleed,   to not feel the terror in the drive to thrive, to be soothed and […]

Winter 2001

Birthday

By Michael Ryan

The years I've lost to selfishness bivouacked at midnight on my lawn, aimed an arsenal at the house, trucked in their dates, and partied until dawn.   They all got […]

Winter 2001

Flimsy

By Michael Ryan

Last night I got shot in the head as I often do: this one point-blank temple soft spot from the handgun of a man   who broke into my motel […]

Daredevil; Sabbatical

By Michael Ryan

Daredevil

Although he’s only seven, you can pick him out
from other first-graders: he’s the one wearing
a smirk that says, “What are you afraid of?”
maybe also to himself, if he already suspects his fear
won’t ever be crushed no matter what he does.