Related to This Book

An Individual History


Michael Collier (Author)


A cycle of pathbreaking poems about the history of a family set against the backdrop of the last century.

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.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • July 2012
  • ISBN 978-0-393-08249-4
  • 6.4 × 8.5 in / 80 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverAn Individual History: Poems


Endorsements & Reviews

“Collier’s sixth collection engages with childhood, fatherhood, and family life, in the living present and memorial past, a history explored with brilliantly precise detail and originality of perspective.” — Publishers Weekly

“Though the wide-ranging content of these highly personal poems may seem catch-as-catch-can, it’s clear that for the poet they are hard-won fragments in the effort to assemble a coherent sense of selfhood, a quest many readers will recognize.” — Library Journal

Also by Michael Collier All

  1. Book CoverA William Maxwell Portrait: Memories and Appreciations