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Palimpsest Press, 2023

What begins as a night out between three best friends becomes a phantasmagorical coming-of-age fable by closing time. In between, memory shifts and shuffles like songs on a jukebox; swan-diving through poems of formative friendships, sexual identity, alcohol and abandon in the dying days of a decade of decadence. 


"Swans dips us tenderly into a time when impulse leaps into danger — but somehow survives it. Who are we to survive such a thing? Who could we have been? Like deer leaping over fences, these poems surface fleetingly into a past that defines us, even as our other selve climb or glide through other doorways into the present and into the future. "—Sarah Venart, author of I Am the Big Heart

"Michelle Brown recasts the haunts, treacheries, and perils of Millenial young womanhood as an oneiric pas de trois in poems that dazzle and chasse and shimmy —putting on a show, but never showing off. This book is so confident and compelling, in total control of what it gives away and what it holds back. It's a startling, rewarding act of reclamation. Swans is the book I didn't know I needed until it came into my life." —Suzannah Showler, author of Thing Is

Creative Writing: Latest Work

Safe Words

Palimpsest Press, 2018

From a student’s confrontation with a teenage streaker, to a company man’s complete undoing at his summer party, Michelle Brown’s Safe Words finds rich darkness in happy partnerships. A maiden name is “handed down / like a sweater”, a taxi ride “ends… at someone else’s life”. Played against a backdrop of pop culture, late-night swagger and vivid imaginary landscapes, Safe Words is the rare poetic debut that delivers passion and control, wielding humour and empathy in equal parts.

"In Safe Words Michelle Brown enacts rites of passage, initiation, transformation. As I read, I leap through “the swooping arcs of life,” fortified by the charm of language and its spells, and feeling totally refreshed. Now I’m me, but brazen, blood and sequins, “momentarily alive.”—Sheryda Warrener, author of Floating is Everything

“I loved reading these poems. Some are tough and confrontational, others tender. All, however, spring from line to line with great energy and panache, never settling for cliché, often chasing an iambic rhythm or braiding together subtle strands of internal rhyme. Brown’s poems are rich in feeling, yet those feelings are often mixed: Brown discovers her own mind through the act of writing, which is exactly as it should be. An exciting debut.”

Shortlisted for the 2019 ReLit Award

Creative Writing: Latest Work
Image by Yevhen Buzuk

recent online publications

The Magician - THIS Magazine

You meant nothing, he said – The Walrus

Creative Writing: Quote


Michelle Brown's work has been featured in Maisonneuve, THIS, The Walrus, Malahat Review, Arc, CV2, Grain, Prism, and The Puritan. She has been shortlisted for the Malahat Review's Open Season Award, the Relit Awards, CV2's Young Buck Prize, and the CBC Poetry Prize. Michelle lives in Vancouver, on the unceded lands of the Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam peoples.

Creative Writing: Latest Book
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