Michael Ryan was born in St. Louis, Missouri in and was educated at the University of Notre Dame, Claremont Graduate School, and the University of Iowa. While at Iowa, Ryan was the poetry editor of The Iowa Review. His collections of poetry include Threats Instead of Trees (1974), selected for the Yale Series of Younger Poets and a finalist for the National Book Award; In Winter, which was a National Poetry Series selection; God Hunger, recipient of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; and New and Selected Poems, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Ryan has taught at colleges and universities across the country and is currently on the faculty at the University of California—Irvine.
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"I was surprised that I was able to select poems that are so out of my usual spoken word preference. The Poetry Out Loud website has hundreds of poems that I have never seen before, and the fact that I found 3 and was able to make it so far with them is amazing to me. I guess I learned that stepping outside of the box is okay!"