Bios: (1), (2), (3) by Michael McKee Green

A Process Statement by Michael McKee Green

The left panel of Bios began during an artist residency I took part in while living in Boise, ID. There, I typed on Janet Zweig’s “Vox Poplar”—a 28,000-foot-long scroll carved into a high relief sculpture. My experimentations with monospaced font were a result of having to use a typewriter during that residency for hours at a time. During the initial slog, I accidentally wrote a few lines in the two and five character form that takes up much of the column. The character limits allowed me to cut a prefix from a noun or verb, creating double entendres, slippages, surprising turns, etc. I kept the momentum going. Eventually, I began slicing up and grafting larger words in the nonce form. When the two and five felt exhausted or stiff, I moved to short 15 word lines. Apostrophe and strophe. 

The right panel began as a sort of commentary or response to ideas the left side introduced. Over time, however, the commentary morphed into its own gesture. The panels became two heads of the same hydra. A startling confession on the left side might be given (sometimes abstruse) context on the right; a lyric poem on the right side might introduce an emotion the left hasn’t discovered yet. Both columns happen simultaneously. The poems are the poem.


Michael McKee Green is a poet from Oregon. His first book, Fugue Figure (the Kent State University Press 2018), won the Stan and Tom Wick Prize. Excerpts of his longer poems appear in places like the Berkeley Poetry Review, Michigan Quarterly, and Tagvverk. He is a PhD student in SUNY Buffalo’s Poetics Program.