where we were standing
when the rain walked round us
with a jingle of mule tackle
on the piney air
and a cat snicker of hog flesh twisted on a stick
like a live snake trying to get
backing out of the fire
and a jug of buttermilk
brought by some girl so lean
and piney herself
in her wet shreds of floursacks
my heart hit me
not for love but the poor peakish look of her
and for bringing up buttermilk
coming up that mountain in the snarl of a spring morning
to a camp of men who were no better than you'd guess us
and setting the jug down on a stone like we'd ordered it
and going off without a smile or a word down the path she'd come up
above Dalton one day in the war when the rain walked round us.
Michael Mott is the author of eleven poetry collections, two novels, two novels for young adults and a best-selling biography of Thomas Merton.
Born in London, son of a English lawyer, his mother a sculptor from Denver Colorado, Mott was educated in America and England. After his service in the British Army, Oriel College, Oxford University, Arts School, and a year traveling in Europe and the Middle East, Mott edited books on the fine arts. From the 1950s his work has appeared in American, British, Canadian, Danish, and Irish periodicals. He has given over sixty readings.
In 1966, Mott was invited to teach at Kenyon College and to be the Poetry Editor of The Kenyon Review. During the 1970s Mott and his family lived in Atlanta, where Mott taught at Emory University. Absence of Unicorns, Presence of Lions, [Little, Brown & Co., 1976] included poems on the American Civil War, among them Above Dalton seen at left.
Mott was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1980. In 1978-1979, and again in 1985-1986 Mott was Writer-in-Residence at the College of William and Mary. He holds the Christopher and other awards, and he holds an honorary doctorate from St. Mary's College, Notre Dame. He retired, Professor Emeritus, after eleven years teaching at Bowling Green State University in 1992. Mott lives and writes in Williamsburg, Virginia.
1930 Born in London, to Eric Alston Mott and Margaret "Totts" Berger-Mott
1935 School in America and England
1948 After his service in the British Army, attends Oriel College, Oxford University, and Arts School
1961 Marries Margaret Watt
1962 Twin daughters, Sophie and Amanda born.
1966 Moved to US to accept position as editor of The Kenyon Review and teacher at Kenyon College.
1970 Began teaching at Emory University
1972 Co-founded the Callenwolde Readings Program with Turner Cassidy.
1974 Received the Governor's Award from Georgia governor Jimmy Carter.
1979 Writer-in-Residence at the College of William and Mary
1980 Received Guggenheim Fellowship
1980 Appointed full professor of creative writing at Bowling Green State University.
1984 Best-selling biography The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton published.
1984 Runner up for the Pulitzer Prize in Literature for biography.
1984 Christopher Award Winner for The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton.
1985-1986 Writer-in-Residence at the College of William and Mary
1990 Wife Margaret Mott, artist and weaver, dies of Breast Cancer after 18 month battle.
1992 Retired from teaching and named Professor Emeritus of Bowling Green State University.
1992 Moves to Williamsburg, VA.
1992 Marries Emma Lou Powers.
2004 The World of Richard Dadd published.
2004 Robert E. Lee & Ruth I. Wilson Poetry Book Award.