Born and raised in the Norwood Park neighborhood of Chicago, Michael Welch majored in Writing Intensive English and Public Relations at Marquette University. He began his editorial career writing chapter introductions and book covers for Reader's Digest Association's Taste of Home brand. After college, he worked for public relations agencies in Chicago and Milwaukee, serving clients including Montana Tourism, Hyatt, WhiteWave and more. Michael received a master's degree in fiction from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he served as a fiction editor for cream city review.
Michael was a finalist for the 2019 Breakout 8 Writers Prize, the 2016 winner of the Florence Kahn Memorial Award, and the author of the chapbook, But Sometimes I Remember. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Kenyon Review Online, Iron Horse Literary Review, and elsewhere. He serves as a daily editor for the Chicago Review of Books.
IN THE PRESS
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San Francisco Times
"The Avondale Tunnel," Iron Horse Literary Review, Issue 21.4
"The Second Life of Lazarus," Noble / Gas Qtrly, Issue 206.1
"Trivia" in FIVE:2:ONE Magazine, 2018
"Skids" in Marquette Literary Review, Spring 2018
"Installations" in Likely Red Magazine, Spring 2018
"Refresh" in Stonecrop Magazine, Spring 2018
"The Woman of Belden Avenue," Chicago Literati, Summer 2017
"Gorgeous," Welter, 2016
"Babyface," Litro Magazine, 2016
"Mercy," South 85 Journal, Spring/Summer 2016
"One Last Thing About Sam," Mangrove Literary Journal, Spring 2016
Poetry & Essays
"Pilgrim Baptist Church Fire, 2006," in North American Review, April 2020
"I ask my father why he does what he does," in Pidgeonholes, April 2020
"Chicago," Black Heart Magazine: DISARM Anthology
"Four Poems," The Arlington Review, Issue 100
"The Bagman," Reunion: The Dallas Review, Volume 7
Reviews & Interviews
"Monumental Insights in 'Cher Ami and Major Whittelsey,'" an interview with Kathleen Rooney in Chicago Review of Books, August 2020
"Absurd, Alluring Escapism in 'A Peculiar Peril," an interview with Jeff VanderMeer in Chicago Review of Books, July 2020
"We Become Where We're From: An Interview with Larry Watson" in Fiction Writers Review, June 2020
"Using Brevity to Express Depth: A review of Tariq Shah's Whiteout Conditions" in Chicago Review of Books, March 2020
"On 'Rag' by Maryse Meijer," in Kenyon Review Online, forthcoming
"Review of Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez" in Prairie Schooner, Spring 2019
"Review of The Recovering by Leslie Jamison" in Chronically Lit
"Review of A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley" in Empty Mirror
But Sometimes I Remember
But Sometimes I Remember explores the narrative of memory — how it comforts and traumatizes us, how it shapes who we are, and how eventually it becomes fiction. These poems include characters driven by their desire to remember and be remembered, forget the pain that haunts them, and understand complex moments from their past. From larger-than-life childhood monuments, directions home through the old neighborhood, to a reimagining of Chicago, memories tie the past and present into a single story where the living and forgotten meet. But Sometimes I Remember is the 2016 winner of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies Florence Kahn Award.
"...remarkable evocation of the recent past. But this is not poetry of soft-hearted nostalgia. These poems are as hard as a city street, as bright as a burning house, and as heart-breaking as a child in a casket. Michael Welch's ambition, talent, and craftsmanship are on brilliant display in this collection."
- Larry Waston, author of Montana 1948
"This is a spectacular collection of poems — images that stay with us, that cling and illuminate our minds in the dark, right before we sleep. This is what poetry is all about.
-Karla K. Morton, 2010 Texas Poet Laureate