Michael Laskey is a full time freelance poet, editor, and tutor with many years experience of promoting contemporary poetry. He founded the international Aldeburgh Poetry Festival in 1989 and directed it through its first decade. In 2008 he stepped down as Chairman, but continues to be associated with the Festival as an honorary consultant. He also founded the poetry magazine Smiths Knoll with Roy Blackman in 1991 and after Roy’s death in 2002 until the final issue in November 2012 co-edited it with Joanna Cutts.
As a poet he has published four collections and three pamphlets – Cloves of Garlic (1988), which won the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition, In the Fruit Cage (1997) and Living by the Sea (2007).
His first two collections were both Poetry Book Society Recommendations: Thinking of Happiness (Peterloo, 1991) and The Tightrope Wedding(Smith/Doorstop, 1999), which was also shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize.Permission to Breathe (Smith/Doorstop, 2004) was followed by The Man Alone: New & Selected Poems (Smith/Doorstop, 2008).
In the spring of 2005 he was awarded an Arts Council International Writing Fellowship at the Banff Centre in Canada.
In addition to fifty issues of Smiths Knoll, his work as an editor includes:
The Aldeburgh Poetry Festival Anthology 1989-1998
(Aldeburgh Poetry Trust, 1999)
and thirteen pamphlets:
Sweet Coffee by Margaret Wilmot
(Smiths Knoll, 2013)
The Probabilities of Balance by Stephen Payne
(Smiths Knoll, 2010)
Meeting the Pilgrimage Halfway by Martin Hayden
(Garlic Press, 2010)
Slowing the Afternoon Down by David Healey
(Garlic Press, 2010)
Hearing Ourselves Think by Philip Hancock
(Smiths Knoll, 2009)
Just Our Luck by Dean Parkin
(Garlic Press, 2008)
Hooks Working Loose by Margaret Easton
(Garlic Press, 2007)
The Devil′s Cut by Marianne Burton
(Smiths Knoll, 2007)
Football on Waste Ground by Richard Kemp
(Smiths Knoll, 2006)
The Watermen by Roy Blackman
(Smiths Knoll, 2003)
A Small Sun by Mourid Barghouti
(Aldeburgh Poetry Trust, 2003)
Irresistible to Women by Dean Parkin
(Garlic Press, 2003)
The Difference by Anthony Wilson
(Aldeburgh Poetry Trust, 1999).
Active as a workshop leader, he has taught at the University of East Anglia, tutors regularly for The Arvon Foundation and works in primary, middle and secondary schools and on writing projects in the wider community.
Born in 1944, educated at Gresham’s School and St John’s College, Cambridge, where he read English, he subsequently worked as a teacher in secondary and further education in Spain and England for ten years. Since 1978 he has lived in Suffolk with his wife who worked as a GP. They have three grown up sons.