Michele Poulos


  • Director and Producer of A Late Style of Fire: Larry Levis, American Poet (slated for release in early 2016, with a score by Iron & Wine)
  • My first full-length book of poems, Black Laurel, is forthcoming from Iris Press in 2016
  • Winner of the 2010 Virginia Screenplay Competition for Mule Bone Blues
  • Mule Bone Blues made it to the 2015 Sundance Screenwriters Lab (second round) and the 2010 Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition (second round)
  • My manuscript titled A Disturbance in the Air won the 2012 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition. The cover art is by the remarkable artist Kiki Smith. Buy it here.
  • Poem chosen by Matthew Dickman for Best New Poets 2012
  • Finalist for the 2012 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize by Smartish Pace
  • Poems and fiction published or forthcoming in The Southern Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology, Smartish Pace, Crab Orchard Review, Copper Nickel, The Hollins Critic, Sycamore Review, storySouth, Waccamaw, and Miracle Monocle
  • An interview for 32 Poems
  • Featured on Connotation Press, An Online Artifact
  • A review of A Disturbance in the Air featured on Blackbird
  • Book reviews and essays in Blackbird, 32 Poems, and Stone Canoe

The Next Big Thing Interview

Thanks to Dexter Booth and Susana Case for letting me in on this project! I know a lot of you have done it already, but if you haven’t, definitely pass it on.

What is the working title of the book?
Black Laurel

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The book grew organically out of individual poems. It now has at its center poems that reveal and explore issues related to my identity as a Greek-American writer, discovering the connections that link the past and present of both Greece and America. These poems often work as a quest to recover identity. The poems sometimes take on the personas of striking figures from other times and other landscapes, while others draw on materials that are somewhat more autobiographical. At the same time, this focus on past and present Greece is only one strand in a wide-ranging manuscript woven of materials which also include a variety of subjects related to science, history, eroticism, mysticism, and much more.

What genre does your book fall under?


What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

My father would be played by either Robert DeNiro or Joe Mantegna. My husband would be played by Sean Connery or Donald Sutherland. 

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

If I may quote The Lovin’ Spoonful, there’s “magic in a young girl’s heart.”

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Three years.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Jack Gilbert, Norman Dubie, H.D., Charles Wright, Lynda Hull, Wallace Stevens, Paul Celan and on and on and on.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There are a number of erotic poems inspired by everything from listening to Kermit Ruffins in New Orleans to reading about peonies and clouds in poems from the Ming Dynasty. Also, one of my favorite poems in the book holds at its center St. Maximos, the Christian monk who would build huts out of straw only to burn them days later.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m sending the book out now.

My tagged writers for next Wednesday are:

My fellow ASU classmates Sara Sams, Cate Murray, Scott Montgomery, and Chris Miller.