The Red Queen Hypothesis–and Other Poems
by Ann E. Michael
59 Poems ~ 72 pages
Price: $18.00
Publisher: Highland Park Press
ISBN: 979-8-9880919-1-2
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“Touching on a range of topics and employing variety in poetic craft—free verse, metrical verse, rhyme, and classic forms–the poems in The Red Queen Hypothesis play with invention, science, and the environment of the everyday. One example of these juxtapositions is the title poem: a villanelle, based on an evolutionary theory named for an episode in Alice through the Looking Glass, that sums up the corporate rat race. Sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes disturbing, the poems urge readers to observe and to reconsider what is beautiful.”


“I found one stunning poem after another in Ann E. Michael’s The Red Queen Hypothesis. Michael praises the things of this world: Indian summer, mosses, a drawer of kitchen implements, a sphinx moth … and some things not quite of this world: an imaginary Japanese woodcut and a geometric form called a torus with its possibly spiritual implications. Above all, Michael praises things with loved, learned detail, and formal skill of the first rank. This collection is rich with sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, and a host of other lyric forms that Michael graces with an array of rhymes that delight with their subtlety, inventiveness, and wit. For their attention to all things botanical, her poems call to mind the work of Ada Limon. For their attention to the land, her poems invite comparison to Robert Frost. The Red Queen Hypothesis is one of the loveliest collection I have read in a long time.”
–Lynn Levin, author of House Parties

“I admire Ann E. Michael’s use of perspective in a poem. Almost journalistic, her direct voice and straightforward language combine with a vulnerability that often arrives late in a poem to add emotional complexity. Her flair for imagery and detail work strategically to evoke surprise and surprise and poignant feeling. I love the understatement of her poems’ engagement with everyday life. Her voice is clear and honest, and brave enough to implicate the poem’s speaker in turns that add a tender vulnerability.”
–Heather H. Thomas, author of Vortex Street


Ann E. Michael lives in eastern Pennsylvania, where she raised two children and numerous pets, gardened extensively, and for many years ran the writing center at DeSales University. Her work first appeared in print in 1981; she’s the author of six chapbooks and a previous book, Water-Rites (2012). She was awarded a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts poetry grant in 1998 and earned an MFA in poetry from Goddard College. Her work appears in print journals and on the web and has been widely anthologized. She has a long-running blog at



by Ann E. Michael

Year end, and there’s little to say.
The dog, the grass, the meadow: studies in tan and beige.
Light constant wind is, in its changing state, the same:
the usual transformations, nothing strange

and nothing static, although that’s how it feels–
stuckeven as minutes pass and slanting sun reveals
hawk, highlight, new perspectives on the field
as a shift in cell structure affects a hive of bees

or the lungs of a loved one. The urge to change, the urge
to stem that change, pulls physical. Not a war of words.
Such tension keeps life going. Learn
from the quiet proof of tree and leaf. Everything turns.

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