Michael Tod Edgerton
|Tod in his “what most vividly” participatory text art installation on the Atlanta BeltLine, Fall 2012. Photo by Greg Segraves.|
Michael Tod Edgerton is the author of the poetry book Vitreous Hide, a finalist for the Colorado Prize, Nightboat Books, and Omnidawn first book awards, among others, before being published by Lavender Ink in January of 2013. Cole Swensen wrote of Vitreous Hide that it is “a book of big ideas and big feeling, yet carried so lightly on its lyric weave that it becomes almost weightless.” For Kevin Killian, "the gay erotics of this work . . . have no equivalent in modern American poetry.” His poems have appeared as the winner of the Boston Review and Five Fingers Review annual contests, and in Coconut, Denver Quarterly, Drunken Boat, EOAGH, New American Writing, New Orleans Review, Sonora Review, and Word For/Word, among other journals.
Tod’s current creative project, “what most vividly (a choral work),” is a multidisciplinary work with literary, sound and text art, performance, and Web instantiations that are informed by documentary and investigative poetics and social practice art. The literary leg of “what most vividly” is a work of lyric essay in prose and verse. He composes these poem-essays by using a set of questions to cull material for adaptation and collage along with his own, often more extensive creative responses. Examples of these questions include, When do you feel most alive?, What do you come from and how has it mattered?, What use is art?, and Why don’t you do more to better the world for others? He has collected responses through emails, text art installations, flyers, and the website. Literary pieces from “what most vividly” have been published in Coconut, Drunken Boat, and Marco Polo Arts Mag. This “choral work” stages the very confluences and conflicts endemic to human individuals and communities. If Vitreous Hide is preoccupied with the transformations of romantic love, “what most vividly” turns to the larger social relation, activating individual and dialogic reflection and advocating for complexity and connection across lines of difference . The principle impetus for the project is an earnest desire to think with others about the fundamental question of ethics and politics: how should we, how can we, how might we live?
Tod’s work on “what most vividly” has been supported by grants from the Art on the Atlanta Beltline Association for a text art version of “vividly” exhibited in the fall of 2012, and research awards from the University of Georgia, including those from the Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts, the Graduate School, and the Hugh Kenner Travel Award from the English Department.
He earned an MFA from the Program in Literary Arts at Brown University in 2006 and a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Georgia in 2014. A native of Lexington, KY, he lives in Atlanta with his partner, Greg, and their antisocial cat, Penelope. He has greatly enjoyed his collaborations with other artists in the past, including choreographers and sound artists, and welcomes proposals for future projects.
To contact Tod about giving a reading, soliciting work, creating a “vividly” participatory installation in your space, or to discuss possible collaboration, please email him at todedgerton [at] gmail [dot] com.