Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Bill Morgan  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Born: 1940 in Atlanta, Georgia

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Illinois Connection

Morgan has lived in Normal, Illinois since the early 70's.

Biographical and Professional Information

Bill Morgan was born in Atlanta, Georgia and has lived in Tennessee, Indiana, New York, and Normal, Illinois. He has published two print chapbooks of poems, Trackings: The Body's Memory, the Heart's Fiction and Sky with Six Geese, one e-chapbook, Spare Parts and Whole Poems in Various Shapes and Sizes, as well as numbers of individual poems in journals. For a long time he could be sighted in the halls, classrooms, and offices of the English Department at Illinois State University. Under his other name, William W. Morgan, he taught Victorian Literature and wrote scholarly studies of Thomas Hardy and other poets. Now retired from teaching, he is Poetry Editor for The Hardy Review and co-produces Poetry Radio for WGLT, the NPR affiliate in Normal, Illinois (WGLT.org).


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Art of Salvage
ISBN: 0997404108

Downstate Legacies. 2016

Poetry. Bill Morgan's debut poetry collection, THE ART OF SALVAGE, finds value—sometimes even treasure and joy—in unpromising materials. Exploring themes including sexuality and the aging body, the beautiful and jarring intricacies to be found in unlikely corners of the natural world (especially the poet's Central Illinois home), and the vein of gold running amid the quotidian, Morgan attempts "to salvage poems from the detritus of the day." But this gold is not easily reclaimed. Salvage demands the poet's trained eye to earn wisdom from loss or recoup delight from a moment's mindfulness. Morgan's poems insist on an honest reckoning and prove what we salvage is never simple or automatic: it is a tireless endeavor of body, mind, and spirit leading to hard- won rewards.

"This book of poems, born of a sensibility at once keenly precise and easeful, is breathtaking. And breath- making: Bill Morgan knows how to watch intently, how to burrow in and bear down, but he also knows how to listen, how to hold, how to care—for lover, creature, flower, and finally, for self. These poems are huge of heart. Love- swollen. Generous of mind and eye. They don't merely bear witness, share, or innovate

they teach. They teach us how to live. Deeply sensual, THE ART OF SALVAGE models, in line after masterful line, the kind of communion—with other beings, with the natural world, with memory—that makes life truly meaningful. THE ART OF SALVAGE—of rescue, of reclamation—is above all else an art of healing: intimacy at its truest. This is a profoundly courageous, vulnerable, and necessary book."—Kirstin Hotelling Zona, editor, SRPR (Spoon River Poetry Review)

"In his author note, Bill Morgan says that '[a]t night..., he hunches over a keyboard and tries to salvage poems from the detritus of the day.' Well, he's salvaged a book, refurbishing a pocket watch, restoring the prairie, and bringing his father back to life, all with the quiet, natural perfection of a damaged starfish growing a new limb. These are poems with gravitas and levitas, heavy with knowledge and pain yet willing and able to fly up, singing, an exaltation of skylarks. THE ART OF SALVAGE is a book full of 'intimate gravity,' and a tough one—as he says of his lady love, 'the genuine article.'"—Kathleen Kirk, poetry editor, Escape Into Life

"'Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? / Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—' If in 'To Autumn' Keats did his part to convey some of that deep, otherworldly and humane music, then in THE ART OF SALVAGE Bill Morgan does his, as well. Morgan presents us with his own landscape of loss, arrived at through the vicissitudes of aging, but he, too, explores feelingly his circumstances, and so locates surprising, vital images and makes powerful, elegiac and celebratory, music. Bend close, reader, and, darkling, listen."—Michael Theune, author of Structure & Surprise: Engaging Poetic Turns

"From now on, when I'm asked what I want for my birthday, I'm going to say I want Bill Morgan's gifts. I want his ability to root the mystical in the mundane, to find just the right image, the telling detail to carry the metaphor. I want his vision, his ability to see the universal in the personal and to make us all see it and feel it. I want those skills and if I can't have them, at least I can read them again and again. And I will."—Michael Cain, editor, Seventh Dream Press

"Bill Morgan's poems accompany us on a journey through the rich and mysterious territory of the aging process. These poems address wisdom and tenderness, a path that those of us fortunate to live a long life will all one day have to walk. This is poetry that enlightens, that deepens our awareness of what it means to be human, and most of all, nourishes the soul."—Judith Valente, correspondent, PBS-TV and WGLT Radio


Awards

-- Carnal Knowledge (poem), Sow's Ear PrizeTrackings: The Body's Memory, The Heart's Fiction, Dead Metaphor Prize