Critical Commentary on Michael’s Work

STEEL VALLEY is Edgar Lee Master’s Spoon River Anthology on steroids, mega-steroids, moved forward into the 21st century with all the love and pain and remorseless human dignity in the face of our crumbling institutions you can ever imagine. Michael is a poet of considerable craft who stakes his ground and sticks to it. He is a poet of the working man, and he reminds us that working men can be men of great sensitivity and learning as well as muscularity, able to swing the hammers that drive the pillars of society into place or shatter them. His form is organic: the shifting meter, tempo, and tone of the lines match the mindset of the shifting moments of our lives rather than fitting one stale archaic French form or another. His nonlinear leaps from stanza to stanza and poem to poem are as fine as those of Bly. And he writes about women with a direct matter-of-fact tone that matches Bukowski when Buk wasn’t in his cups or feeling sorry for himself.

Jared Smith, award-winning poet, reviewed in New York Quarterly, 2010

Yet another publication from Lummox Press is Michael Adams Steel Valley, and I have to say this: I really enjoy Adams’s work. Didn’t think I would, but upon opening up the pages of Steel Valley, I simply fell in love with the man’s work. You can feel it with all your senses. This is a writer who gives it all away and takes no prisoners. I have a soft spot in my heart for Blue Collar literature, and I have a soft spot for fine and focused writing. Michael Adams is an intimate chronicler of his own history. His prose and poetry will simply seduce you. From short pieces like “Wobbly Joe” and “Jimmy’s Song” to intimate prose poems like “Work” and “Head Wars”. I just simply fell in love with this offer. The book itself is some 103 pages. And has a bittersweet feeling in its style, for Smith writes with a wide heart and generous pulse. Should you get this book? Hell yes. I would order it immediately, in fact, sooner. So contact Lummox Press and invest fifteen dollars American, and purchase a copy of Steel Valley.
BL Kennedy (poet, reviewed in Belinda Subraman’s Gypsy Art Show April 6, 2011)

Like Woody Guthrie’s “Talking Dust Bowl Blues,” William Carlos Williams’ Paterson, and Jack Keruoac’s bop prosody novels, form meets content in Steel Valley to celebrate an original voice, a new way to cohere the gestalt. In the book’s introduction, John Macker calls “these tough, tender-eyed poems and prose pieces at once blue collar and bohemian,” and, indeed, throughout its pages oppositional points of view are abandoned in favor of a deeper embrace of the whole, an acknowledgment of human foible, and a sense of proportion and perspective.
Kirpal Gordon (poet, reviewed in Rain Taxi, Fall 2010)