Past U.P. Poets Laureate

M. Bartley Seigel

U.P. Poet Laureate 2021-22

M. Bartley Seigel (he/his) lives in Houghton, in the Keweenaw Peninsula, in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula, in Ojibwe homelands and Treaty of 1842 territory, on the shores of Lake Superior. He received his MFA from the Pennsylvania State University, University Park, and a BA in Journalism from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He is the author of This Is What They Say (Typecast Publishing, 2013) and his poetry has regularly appeared in journals such as POETRY Magazine, About Place, Fourth River, Michigan Quarterly Review, Split Rock Review, Thrush, and numerous others, as well as anthologized in And Here: 100 years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017 (Michigan State University Press), and Rewilding: Poems for the Environment (Flexible Press). Seigel is founding editor-in-chief of the new poetry letterpress, Simple Machines Magazine, and founding editor emeritus of PANK Magazine, which he co-edited with Roxane Gay from 2006-2015. He is Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Writing Center Director in the Department of Humanities at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. In 2021, he received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship.


In the Bone-Cracking Cold
Lake Superior

Marty Achatz

U.P. Poet Laureate 2017-18, 2019-20

Two-time U.P. Poet Laureate Marty Achatz has been a Contingent Professor in the English Department at Northern Michigan University for close to 30 years. Prior to that, he taught at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. He grew up in Ishpeming and got his Master’s Degree in Fiction and MFA in Poetry from Norther Michigan University. Marty’s most recent publications include poems in The Other Journal and Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice. Marty appears regularly on the radio variety show The Red Jacket Jamboree, and his most recent writing can be found on his blog, Saint Marty, which receives close to 10,000 page views monthly. In his spare time, Marty enjoys hunting for Bigfoot with his son in the wilds of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


Strawberry Picking
Heart to Heart

Andrea Scarpino

U.P. Poet Laureate 2015-16

Andrea Scarpino (she/her) is a writer, teacher, editor, disability activist, foodie, yoga student, wellness enthusiast, middle grade reader, kitty foster mom, and Women’s World Cup fanatic (among other things!). She is the author of four poetry collections: Once Upon Wing Lake (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle Press, 2017); What the Willow Said as it Fell (Red Hen Press, 2016); Once, Then (Red Hen Press, 2014); and the chapbook The Grove Behind (Finishing Line Press, 2009). She co-edited with Ron Riekki the anthology Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice (MSU Press, 2019) and is co-editor of Nine Mile Magazine. Andrea earned her PhD in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and was the 2015-2017 Poet Laureate of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.


Etymology of Goodbye
Before the Day

Russell Thorburn

U.P. Poet Laureate 2013-14

Russell Thorburn was the first U.P. Poet Laureate. The Marquette resident and Northern Michigan University professor has also been honored by the National Endowment for the Arts, and is the author of several books of prose and poetry. His newest poetry collection is called Somewhere We’ll Leave the World (Wayne State University Press, 2017).