About Michael

Michael PoageI was born in Virginia and moved around with my military family, going to high school in Oceanside, CA, and doing my undergraduate work on a track scholarship at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA.  After graduation I attended Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA (1967-68) for a couple of semesters before handing over my 4D (Divinity student) classification and beginning a two-year struggle with the Selective Service System (the “draft”).  I wanted to be classified as a conscientious objector!!  Eventually, because the court system was overflowing, I was given a “hardship” deferment because our son was born.  Thanks, Joel!  We had moved to Montana so I did a variety of jobs around Missoula and began the MFA program in 1971 with the opportunity to study with Madeline DeFrees and Richard Hugo when I wasn’t working at the Bitterroot Market….At the same time I received a teaching credential and began a five year “career” as an elementary teacher/principal/janitor/cook at the two-room Sunset School in Greenough, Montana.

In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s we owned and operated a sheep and cattle ranch, sold the ranch, and moved to San Anselmo, CA, to study at San Francisco Theological Seminary.  I received my Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree in 1985, and began a twenty-five year career serving three United Church of Christ congregations in Kansas.  In 1991, Gretchen Eick and I were married creating our blended family of six adult children, five grand children, and a great grand daughter.

I retired from local church work in June, 2010, and went to Wichita State University to earn a graduate certificate to teach English as a Second Language.  I did my practicum at the An Noor Islamic school in Wichita.

For the past 40-plus years I have continued to write and have given readings and workshops in several states as well as in Mexico, Latvia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina.  I have also taught at Friends University (Wichita) and Wichita State University.  I have been fortunate to have opportunities to travel and work in Mexico, much of northern and southeastern Europe, and the Middle East.  I have ten books of poems published and now I live in Wichita, KS.

I am available for readings and workshops wherever and whenever possible.  I also participate in progressive social justice activities in the U.S. and abroad.  I was part of the Gaza Freedom March in Cairo in 2009, went to the West Bank in 2010, and traveled to the Gaza Strip with Physicians for Social Responsibility in April, 2012 working as a trauma counselor.  Also, in June, 2012, we traveled to Turkey. I work with the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, have done community development work in northwest Mexico, taught English and worked with Church World Service in Bosnia.


B.A., Westmont College, 1967
MFA, U. of Montana, 1973
MDiv., San Francisco Theological Seminary, 1985
Certification:  Teaching English as a Second Language, Wichita State University, 2012
I now teach two English classes (fall, 2012) at the Intensive English Language Institute at Wichita State University


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