Michael Collier was named Poet Laureate of Maryland by the Governor in February 2001. A former Guggenheim Foundation fellow and former director of poetry programs at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Michael Collier joined the faculty of the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1985. Currently, he directs their creative writing program. Since 1994, he also has been director of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. His works include The Neighbor (1995), The Folded Heart (1989), The Clasp (1986), and most recently, The Ledge (2000), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, May 25, 1953, Michael Collier received his M.F.A. from the University of Arizona in 1979. Currently, he resides in Catonsville, Maryland, with his wife and two children.

In the 18th century, Ebenezer Cook, author of The Sot-weed Factor: Or, A Voyage to Maryland (1708), styled himself Poet Laureate. Maryland did not have an official poet, however, until 1959. In that year, the General Assembly authorized the Governor to appoint a citizen of the State as Poet Laureate of Maryland (Chapter 178, Acts of 1959; Code State Government Article, sec. 13-306).

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