Michelle Y. Burke

Michelle Y. Burke (Poetry) | Falmouth, MA

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Michelle Y. Burke was born in Pennsylvania and earned a BA in creative writing from Loyola University Maryland, an MFA in poetry from the Ohio State University, and a PhD in English from the University of Cincinnati. She is the author of the poetry collection Animal Purpose, winner of the 2015 Hollis Summers Poetry Prize, and the poetry chapbook Horse Loquela, winner of the 2007 Red Mountain Review Chapbook Series Award. Her poetry has appeared in Poetry, New Orleans Review, Hopkins Review, So to Speak, American Literary Review, and elsewhere.


Animal Purpose (Ohio University Press, 2016). Hollis Summers Poetry Prize. Poetry.


Horse Loquela (Red Mountain Review, 2007). Poetry.

Press & Reviews

“Michelle Y. Burke has a splendid imagination, yet her poems are grounded in the quotidian. Deeply satisfying turns happen throughout Burke’s poems—they are never forced, and surprise never diminishes what is inevitable and true.”
—Thomas Lux

“Burke’s lovely Animal Purpose delights when the human animal and the other animals align their often contrary spirits. Burke writes lyrically and searchingly about the purposes of us all—human and nonhuman animal—in this fine, fascinating, and constantly surprising book.”
—Andrew Hudgins

“Burke’s tender and brave poems refuse to turn away from the cruelties of the world, both the kind we endure and the kind we unwittingly inflict—and yet, even as they bear witness, they insist on joy. And tilt towards hope. And pry beauty from unlikely places.”
—Lia Purpura

“Elegant and emblematic as the beasts inhabiting Burke’s Animal Purpose, these poems ask impossible questions of love, death, and the all too human constructs meant to manage both. What a painfully beautiful debut this is.”
—Kathy Fagan

“Burke’s stunning first collection transforms the echoes of the pastoral tradition into complex contemporary terrain in a voice that is both subtle and urgent. Underlying these meditations is a wariness of easy philosophies about the relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world. There is abundance here, a specificity in her imagery and cadences that makes this book an engaging and emotionally potent exploration of environment and self.”
—Danielle Cadena Deulen

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