The Poet: Michael Grabell ’03 is an investigative reporter with ProPublica, a nonprofit journalism organization dedicated to in-depth stories in the public interest, for which he writes about air safety and the economy, among other topics. But outside of his professional life, Grabell enjoys a different kind of writing: poetry. His first collection of poems, Macho Man, won the Finishing Line Press chapbook competition and was a finalist for the Pushcart Prize. His work also has appeared in the Best American Poetry anthology.
The Poetry: The title Macho Man might mislead the reader into thinking about a Hemingway-like machismo. But the title is ironic, says Pushcart Prize winner Bruce Bennett, who wrote that the poems are “effortlessly fluent” with a consciousness that “is exquisitely sensitive and attuned to the slightest nuance.” The poems cover a range of subjects, from musings on childhood to sexual longing. National Book Award finalist and Princeton professor James Richardson ’71 wrote, “Grabell arranges the head-on collision of his restless desire with its immovable objects, and somehow walks away from the wreck with poems of utter lucidity, sharp insight, and perfect pace.”
Selection from Nike Missile Base:
From Riker Hill, they could see
the distant flecks of energy,
New York a corona, always rising
with the uneasiness of a new day.
This is where we came years later
to feel invincible and irradiate
our frailties with Everclear.