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Michael Burwell poet

"Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance." 

Carl Sandburg



My name is Michael Burwell and I'm a writer, editor, and researcher. As you browse this website, you'll find a selection of my writings and an array of literary services that I offer. 

Check out my About page to learn a little more about me

and Contact Me for more information on how I can help you complete your personal or organization's next important writing project.


Michael Burwell poetry reading


north and west book
cartography of water book
aleutian voices book


Fukushima—Elegy for the North Pacific

Sometimes a wave bends

in on itself, crippled,

limps 4,000 miles

from a burning shrine

in the west,

topples to shore

with more than wood or weed.


Sometimes it brings

death as a seal

or a brace of guillemots,

on Tuesday terns

still as chalk,

Wednesday, a score

of murres upended.


We pour blessings

over salmon and crab,

but they offer up


only as the dead.


On shores to the south,

beaches warm

to more salt and music

where other men

pretend their hem

is another sea.


Still, their children know

they deform in the estuaries,

in houses of polished dirt,

among feeble corn.


A diver finds an oyster

with an eye, without shell.

Nuts and milk won’t nourish.


Sometimes poison takes

too much away

and we must go farther

out into the trees

to build our church,

pen a new gospel

saying: look away.

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