Michael Salcman, was born in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia in 1946, the son of Holocaust survivors, and came to the United States in 1949. The Color that Advances, devoted to poems about artists and artworks, is the second of his four chapbooks. He attended the Combined Program in Liberal Arts and Medical Education at Boston University, receiving both the B.A. and M.D. in 1969, trained in neurophysiology at the National Institutes of Health and in neurological surgery at Columbia University. He was chairman of neurosurgery at the University of Maryland from 1984 through 1991. His early medical career was profiled by Pulitzer-Prize winner Jon Franklin and Alan Doelp in their book, Not Quite A Miracle (Doubleday, 1983). He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Columbia’s Neurological Institute in 1985 and of Boston University’s School of Medicine in 2001 and served as President of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. He is the author of almost 200 medical and scientific papers and the author or editor of six textbooks, most recently the two-volume 2nd edition of Kempe’s Operative Neurosurgery (Springer-Verlag, 2004). His medical and scientific books have been translated into Spanish, German, Portuguese and Chinese.
In the visual arts, he served as President of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore and his art reviews and essays on the arts and sciences and the visual arts and the brain have appeared in print and on-line. He teaches an annual course on the History of Contemporary Art and is Special Lecturer in the Osher Institute at Towson University.
He’s been writing poetry for almost forty years and spent ten summers at Sarah Lawrence College doing workshops with Tom Lux, Stephen Dobyns, Heather McHugh, Stuart Dischell, D. Nurske, and Deborah Digges. Tom Lux and Dick Allen have been intimately involved in editing his book manuscripts for publication. His poems have appeared in such literary journals as Alaska Quarterly Review, Atlanta Review, Barrow Street Review, Connecticut Review, Harvard Review, New Letters, New York Quarterly, Nimrod, Notre Dame Review, Ontario Review, and Raritan. His poems have been heard on NPR’s All Things Considered, on Wisconsin Public Radio, and in Baltimore on WYPR’s The Signal and Maryland Morning. He reads the title poem from The Color That Advances in Euphoria (2005/2008), Lee Boot’s 90-minute award-winning documentary on the brain and creativity. His most recent chapbook, Stones In Our Pockets (Parallel Press, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2007) collects many of his medical poems. His poems have been nominated for a Best of the Web Prize and three times for a Pushcart Prize. Recently, Michael Salcman has been nominated as Poet Laureate of Maryland and his collection, The Clock Made of Confetti (Orchises Press, 2007) nominated for The Poet’s Prize (2009).
Author photo by Lynne Kuderko
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