Michael Montlack '92
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The teacher's note on Michael Montlack's second grade report card said, "Michael has a gift for telling stories." And all these years later, he's still telling them.
After growing up on Long Island and earning a B.A. in English/creative writing from Hofstra University in 1992, Michael moved to California, where he earned an M.A. in English/creative writing from San Francisco State University. During this time, he published his first stories and poems in literary journals. He then decided to move back to New York, where he taught as an adjunct professor in Hofstra's Creative Writing Department and worked as an assistant to a literary agent.
In the late 1990s, he settled in New York City’s East Village and began to teach writing and literature full time at Berkeley College in Manhattan. In 2003 he entered The New School's M.F.A. program, where he studied poetry and finished his first small book of poems: Cover Charge, which won the Gertrude Chapbook Competition in 2007. Two other poetry chapbooks followed: Girls, Girls, Girls (Pudding House, 2008) and The Slip (Poets Wear Prada, 2009).
While completing the M.F.A., he was awarded the first of several residencies/fellowships, which gave him time and space to write and an opportunity to travel around the United States: Ucross Foundation (WY), Soul Mountain Retreat (CT), Tin House Conference (OR), VCCA (VA) and Lambda Literary Retreat (CA).
While writing poetry, publishing them in journals, and reading at various downtown literary venues, Michael started a project, which would become his first larger book – My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them (University of Wisconsin Press, 2009).
My Diva – an anthology of essays he edited, which explores the relationship between gay men and strong female icons – has been widely reviewed and well received by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out New York, Camille Paglia/Salon.com, Michael Musto/Village Voice, etc. Out Magazine listed it as a “Top Summer Must Read” for 2009. Within months of its release, the book went into a second hardcover printing and is scheduled for paperback in fall 2010.
Michael is still touring with the book all over the United States: from Barnes & Noble in New York City, the W Hotel in San Francisco, and The Gay and Lesbian Center in Los Angeles to literary conferences in Atlanta, Denver and New Orleans. He has also given readings at libraries, writers centers and universities such as NYU, CUNY, University of Rhode Island, and Hofstra this past fall.
Still in the East Village most of the year and teaching at Berkeley College, Michael lives and writes in San Francisco during the winters. He will be there this winter, finishing the edits on his first novel.
Perhaps he's just trying to prove that second grade teacher right.