Max Garland of Eau Claire was Wisconsin Poet Laureate for 2013-2014. The Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission, in selecting Garland, praised his poetry for its richness of language, human understanding, and accessibility to broad audiences.
A first generation college student, Garland left a ten-year career as a mail carrier to pursue his love of poetry. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa in 1989 and has been teaching since 1990; currently he is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In his first poetry collection, The Postal Confessions, which earned the prestigious Juniper Prize for Poetry, Garland chronicles his years carrying the mail in a classic American voice, discovering deeply felt significance within everyday experiences often drawn from the lives of the folks who lived on his rural mail route. Garland’s second book, Hunger Wide as Heaven, earned another national prize, this time from the Cleveland State University Poetry Center, a leading force in the publishing and promotion of new American poetry. Of his book, poet Naomi Shihab Nye writes, “[t]here’s a welcoming world here you’ll recognize, as well as a wistfulness that feels perfectly pitched, leaning out to mystery…I’m a mad fan of the delicious, radiant poems of Max Garland.”