Michael Hettich was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in New York City and its suburbs. He has lived in upstate New York, Colorado, Northern Florida, Vermont, Miami, and Black Mountain, North Carolina, where he now lives with his family. He has published over a dozen books and chapbooks of poetry, and his work has appeared widely in journals and anthologies. His awards include several Florida Individual Artists Fellowships, a Florida Book Award, The Tampa Review Prize in Poetry, and the David Martinson–Meadow Hawk Prize.
Michael Hettich has written, with extraordinary empathy, a book about vanishment: of dreams and fathers, of love and animals and birds. Look carefully at the glinting lights he paints. Like everything beautiful, they will be gone before you know it.
—Lola Haskins, author of How Small, Confronting Morning
In these stunning, fable-like poems, humans turn into animals in transformations that seem utterly natural, if not necessary. There’s a merging with wildness, even as wildness is disappearing. The poems themselves seem almost to disappear rather than end, as if they are heading into some trees, or entering the body of a horse. Hettich, though up against implied extinctions, keeps the reader entranced in a world we thought had vanished until these poems gifted us their quiet—”until something moved around inside us again…and it hurt like language must have done once, or maybe even love.”
—Anne Marie Macari, author of Red Deer
Michael Hettich is one of our best and most necessary poets because his dreamlike stories remind us how little we truly see and how often we sleep through the day’s deep revelations. This collection—so tightly choreographed and flawlessly written—is like a long poem that shines brighter with each turn of the page. By book’s end, one is desirous to know more clearly those mysteries of the inner vision, and to bring a keener awareness to the fraught and fragile natural world that is ours to inhabit, nourish, and preserve. To Start an Orchard is a call to arms, demanding consciousness, responsibility, and love.
—Richard Jones, author of Stranger on Earth