June 17, 2010

Michael Riley

Michael Riley [Australia]

The youngest of five children, Michael Riley was born in Ipswich, Queensland, Australia. He spent most of his childhood moving from city to city, town to town. “My father didn’t like being in the one place too long.” when Michael was eight his parents divorced. In 1982 his mother settled in Townsville, a tropical city in far North Queensland. Michael hated school so much that he left at the age of thirteen. Ten years later he went back and obtained his High School Certificate.

In 1999 he graduated from James Cook University with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English Literature. In 2001 he moved to Melbourne to pursue a career in the creative arts. Riley has been writing poetry for only two years. In that time he has had some fifty poems published in major literary publications and anthologies in Australia and overseas. He is currently working on his first book.

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English


civilian casualties in his lower left jaw
left him more akin to leafy suburbs than palomino
his name was Anwrothia after the pelican
that bit off his father’s cock
his wife hid the cheese grater in her robe
having earned her husband’s respect
his work mate worked her over
while he worked his shift
in Paris that summer
she filled her socks with metered rhyme
and sniffed a pair of knickers stuck to a knife
Anwrothia rusted inside enmity

Reprinted from Aught, no. 14 (2005). Copyright ©2005 by Michael Riley.