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The Missing Mountain

New and Selected Poems

A collection of poetry spanning the career of distinguished poet Michael Collier.
Whether Michael Collier is writing about an airline disaster, a friendship with a disgraced Catholic bishop, his father’s encounter with Charles Lindbergh, Lebanese beekeepers, a mother’s sewing machine, or a piano in the woods, he does so with the syntactic verve, scrupulously observed detail, and a flawless ear that has made him one of America’s most distinguished poets. These poems cross expanses, connecting the fear of missing love and the bliss of holding it, the ways we speak to ourselves and language we use with others, and deep personal grief and shadows of world history.

The Missing Mountain brings together a lifetime of work, chronicling Collier’s long and distinguished career as a poet and teacher. These selections, both of previously published and new poems, chart the development of Collier’s art and the cultivations of his passions and concerns.

160 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2021

Phoenix Poets



"The title poem of Michael Collier's newest collection captures the poet at his best. "The Missing Mountain," originally published in Dark Wild Realm (2006), combines images of specific objects and memories with lush description and satisfying philosophical twists. The unrhymed yet tightly controlled stanzas are composed of lines with a natural musical quality, somewhere between loose tetrameter and everyday speech."

Seven Days

“Within the arc of this beautiful book, readers will find two sources of wonder: that Collier’s gift for poetry was, from the beginning, complete, and that the poems have also found a way to deepen with each succeeding volume. What becomes of faith when its ceremonies are etched in the heart but its communities begin to falter? What becomes of kindness when its paths are strewn with grief? The quality of attention is everything in these pages: the missing mountain is the one we climb and, climbing, summon into being.”

Linda Gregerson, author of Prodigal

“In this superb collection, Collier occupies the rarefied air of a particular lineage of American poets running from Frost and Meredith through Strand and Voigt. His work is that unmistakable, profound, and true. To manage such degrees of depth and peril requires a most scrupulous craft; and to wield such classical ironies—engagement met with the threat of effacement, a piercing wit sparking off an even more profound soulfulness—takes a poet of consummate skill, passion, and wisdom. Collier is just such a poet.”

David Baker, author of Swift: New and Selected Poems

“For over three decades, Collier has explored 'the sparkling circuitry of the universe.' With his telescopic eye, he has traced the delicate contours of the living and the dead so that we might see them more clearly and truly. The result is the exquisite poems of The Missing Mountain come together like a star chart to remind us that we are each one brilliant point in the constellation that we call the story of our lives. One would be hard pressed to find better company than this radiant book.”

Tomás Q. Morín, author of Machete

Table of Contents


from My Bishop and Other Poems (2018)
My Bishop
Anecdote of the Piano in the Woods
Bronze Foot in a Glass Case
The Storm
Boom Boom
A Wild Tom Turkey
Len Bias, a Bouquet of Roses, and Ms. Brooks
Last Morning with Steve Orlen

from An Individual History (2012)
An Individual History
My Mother of Invention
Grandmother with Mink Stole, Sky Harbor Airport, Phoenix, Arizona, 1959
At the End of a Ninetieth Summer
Brendan’s Hair
Doctor Friendly
Rabid Head
The Bees of Deir Kifa
Six Lines for Louise Bogan

from Dark Wild Realm (2006)
Birds Appearing in a Dream
Summer Anniversary
Bird Crashing into Window
The Watch
The Missing Mountain
Singing, 5 A.M.
Mine Own John Clare
Elegy for a Long-Dead Friend
A Line from Robert Desnos Used to Commemorate George “Sonny” Took-the-Shield, Fort Belknap, Montana

from The Ledge (2000)
My Crucifixion
The Word
The Farrier
All Souls
Brave Sparrow
Pax Geologica

from The Neighbor (1995)
2212 West Flower Street
The House of Being
The Barber
The Rancher
Mission Boulevard
The Steam Engine
Pictures Drawn by Atomic Bomb Survivors
Letter from Mrs. C. G. Vogt
The Water Dream

from The Folded Heart (1989)
North Corridor
Spider Tumor
The Problem
The Heavy Light of Shifting Stars
The Cave

from The Clasp (1986)
White Strawberries
In Khabarovsk
Two Girls in a Chair
The Clasp

New Poems (2021)
A Man of Rueful Countenance
A True Story about a Cat and a Possum
Bee to Keeper
Portrait of Two Young Couples
Colloquy with a Polish Aunt
The Salvation of America
Goat on a Pile of Scrap Lumber
Cyclist Braking for Two Foxes Crossing a Country Road in Early Morning
Morning Crows in a Fresh Mown Field before Rain
His Highness’s Dog at Kew
Penn Relays
Our Felix Randal
In Life
Poem for a Sixtieth Birthday
Today I Can Write
To the Muse of Dying
Tree beyond Your Window

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