Joseph Millar, poet, grew up in western Pennsylvania and was educated at Penn State and Johns Hopkins University, where he earned an M.A. in poetry writing. He worked as a commercial fisherman and telephone repairman for more than 20 years, and his accessible narrative poems, influenced by the work of poets Philip Levine and James Wright, often take working life as a means of engaging themes of class, family, and romantic love. In a 2009 interview for Pirene’s Fountain with Charles Morrison, Millar stated, “We must have the ambition for our poems that they reach toward the sublime, that they speak from our own true selves and are grounded in the experience of our daily lives, including our dreams and hopes.”
Millar is the author of several poetry collections, including Blue Rust (2011), Fortune (2007), and Overtime (2001), which was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. He has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Montalvo Arts Center, and Oregon Literary Arts. His poetry has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s National Public Radio program The Writer’s Almanac and won a Pushcart Prize. Millar, who has taught at Pacific University, the University of Oregon, and Oregon State University, lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, poet Dorianne Laux.