Michael J. Grabell's first chapbook, Macho Man, won the Finishing Line Press Open Chapbook Competition and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The chapbook was a finalist or semifinalist for the Slipstream, Tupelo Press, Sow’s Ear, Slapering Hol, Astounding Beauty Ruffian Press, Ledge, Flying Trout, Burnside Review and Frost Place chapbook prizes. 

“From its opening lines throughout the entire collection, Macho Man never misses a step or a beat. The voice of the speaker is effortlessly fluent and completely assured, ‘bearing witness’  (as he phrases it in one poem) to a singular individual’s experience of his world that any reader will be able to recognize and relate to. Though a number of the poems deal knowledgeably with the subjects of sex, longing, and love, the consciousness revealed in these and other poems—for instance, about the author’s parents and childhood—is exquisitely sensitive and attuned to the slightest nuance, and thus only ironically that of the ‘macho man’ suggested by the title. These are poems that impress, persuade, and delight on a first reading, and then stick in the mind.”

- Bruce Bennett, contest judge and Pushcart Prize winner

“Michael Grabell arranges the head-on collision of his restless desire with its immovable objects, and somehow walks away from the wreck with poems of utter lucidity, sharp insight and perfect pace.   Ranging from the last night of the high school era to thirty-something cruising, from run-on daydreams to bad dates, from charming self-deprecation to the brilliant rush of ‘Nike Missile Base,’ Macho Man is hilarious and poignant and urgent all at once.”

- James Richardson, National Book Award finalist

“Some of us boys, we muse bemusedly through the day, remembering and speculating and failing to save America, and the poetry of ‘this fleeting, this floating we've been doing’ is actually a mode of survival.  So it is for Michael Grabell, whose bemused poems keep stumbling off the Gravitron of life, past Lucky Leo's arcade, desirous and thirsty and gawking, trying to keep dancing with glowsticks.”

- Mark Halliday, Guggenheim Fellow and ‘ultra-talk’ poet


1. Nike Missile Base

Winner, Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Award  

2. The Difference Between Gawking and Bearing Witness                                          

3. The Torsos are Medium, Rare
First published in Inkwell 

4. Drifting
First published in Rattle

5. Station Wagon                                                                                                                     

6. Gravitron
First published in Poems & Plays

7. Thigmotactic
First published in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review 

8. Ode to Kirsten Dunst                                                                                              

9. Boarding Call
First published in The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review 

10. Between                                                                                                                

11. Memoir of a Hulkamaniac                                                                              

12. Synthesis Photo
First published in Poems & Plays  

13. Before Committing
2nd place, River Styx International Poetry Contest, selected by Stephen Dunn

14. Palimpsest 
First published in Columbia Poetry Review 

15. Definition of Terms  

Chosen for Best American Poetry 2009, selected by David Wagoner, ed. David Lehman
Chosen for Best New Poets 2009, selected by Kim Addonizio, ed. Jeb Livingood

16. The Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate
First published in The Ledge 

17. Touchy Feely 
First published in The Ledge