A Boy in the City is a masterful poetic sequence and a testament of the human spirit. It is written in the best of what is "the American grain." Philip Roth comes to mind, in his exhibition of tenderness as comic relief, when Michael Miller's "boy" finds his grandmother's corset; or when that same child touches his "right side," asking "God to keep/ My appendix whole," after he loses his mother, who wasn't "supposed to die/ From a ruptured appendix." More so, this sequence is also a significant homage and elegy to the Brooklyn Bridge, and is not dissimilar from Hart Crane's masterpiece, The Bridge. In Michael Miller's poem, we traverse the span where we feel both the bridge's reverberation and the poem's sheer resonance: "I stopped in the center/ Of the bridge, its cables/ The links of consistency/ Its curvature a graft/ Of the eternal." And as in Walt Whitman's work, Michael Miller's poetry evinces both loss and healing.
- Wally Swist, author of Taking Residence
Poetry is an ocean into which all sorts of rivers enter, like boisterous guests. One of literature's obsessions is childhood. We all know Huckleberry Finn and Holden Caulfield, the only real difference is their surroundings. They are intrigued by two things, the world and themselves, but they are fascinating because they think about and explore what we realize we should be doing.
Michael Miller looks back, way back. He is experienced enough to know the world he writes about is gone, and then he brings it back to life. He is one of those poets who demand re-reading as soon as you finish reading, and the effect is stimulating. There is the dissemblance of adolescence, and some deaths, and all you can think of is the taste in your mouth of your first strawberry. Yes, that's what poetry does.
- Daniel J. Langton, author of Personal Effects
Professor Emeritus, San Francisco State University
About the Author
Michael Miller's poems have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Sewanee Review,The Southern Review, Raritan, The Yale Review, and other journals and books.
He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.