An Individual History by Michael Collier

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews


“Profound, emotional, sparing, loving, and sometimes very funny. . . . [Collier is] always the consummate craftsman.”—Poet Lore

An Individual History describes the fears, anger, and guilt—personal, familial, societal, political, and historical—that comprise a life. The figure of the speaker’s maternal grandmother who was institutionalized for five decades serves as an overriding metaphor for this haunting, bold new work by an essential American poet.

from “An Individual History

This was before the time of lithium and Zoloft

before mood stabilizers and anxiolytics

and almost all the psychotropic drugs, but not before


which the suicide O’Laughlin called “handcuffs for the


It was before, during, and after the time of atomic


Auschwitz, the Nakba, DDT, and you could take water


find solace in quarantines, participate in shunnings,

or stand at Lourdes among the canes and crutches.

About Michael Collier

See more books from this Author
Michael Collier's The Ledge was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He teaches at the University of Maryland and is the director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.
Published July 2, 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company. 81 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Rate this book!

Add Review