Michael Daley | Original Sin


In ORIGINAL SIN, the second volume in the new Pleasure Boat Studio Chapbook Series, Michael Daley writes of domestic life; of experiences with his son, his wife, and his mother. As he does in his more political writings, however, he brings a strong personal intensity to the work. A former tree-planter and freight-hopper, he is the author of THE STRAITS, AMIGOS, ANGELS, and YES, FIVE POEMS. Two new chapbooks slated to be published this year are: HORACE: Eleven Poems (translation, Brooding Heron); and The Corn Maiden (Tangram). He is also editor of the powerful collection, IN OUR HEARTS AND MINDS: THE NORTHWEST AND CENTRAL AMERICA, published by Empty Bowl Press of Port Townsend, Washington. Daley teaches English and philosophy at Mt. Vernon High School in Washington State. 

Comments on Michael Daley and his work:

Gary Snyder on THE STRAITS (Empty Bowl, 1983): "Superb, elegant poetically and fresh with the Northwest world absorbed so beautifully. It's a rich book."

Jack Hirschman: "Michael Daley is a combiner of lyricism and political feeling evoking the clear air and poetic breath of liberation. A ground-breaking sensitivity for the future."

"Whether meditating on a train journey through Oregon farmland, observing a heron and a hawk while pulling an offshore drift log in for cord wood, or eulogizing a recalcitrant dog named Jessie, Michael Daley's poems possess the quiet authority derived from observing the world with a heart. They accommodate the border region where the realms of man and nature converge or collide: a man listening to opera while driving a pickup encounters a bald eagle in a stand of alders. Beyond that, these poems probe the deepest of human affections, as between man and wife, mother and son, father and son, brother and sister. Each poem bears our closest attention, its lovely, worthy mystery unfolding with successive readings like petals on a blossom. The poems in Original Sin are the work of a highly practiced, widely-published poet, but more importantly, their home, their territory--their geography and emotional landscape--are very much our own."

- John Willson, poet, author of The Son We Had

*The 'Daley' News: Skagit Valley Herald piece on Michael

Read Michael Daley's essay 'running on empty', a chronicle of 'Empty Bowl' press

a poem from Original Sin:


I see your smile–it's light through the window–
open, a witness to last night's poor sleep,
and look at Teddy, head turned and aglow,
blond as the wheat field he's wading in, deep
snores between us, breezes only riffling
the droop of wheat, how waves flutter a sea.
So far from fever he will be waking
soon in language informed by heat, free
to tell his dream: fire engine, and water,
and you see the fever's broken, hold him,
kiss where the virus torched and didn't scar.
All night we sponged and fanned. Was that a dream?
This body of the morning is holy,
torso where we'll burn, and where we marry.

Ordering Information

Michael Daley
Pleasure Boat Studio 1999
ISBN 0-9651413-6-5
Poetry | 36 pages
Paper | U.S. $8.OO

Pleasure Boat Studio