Milton Bates

Milton Bates

Milton J. Bates lives on Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan. A retired English professor and former Guggenheim Fellow, he taught at Williams College and Marquette University. He also held Fulbright lectureships in China and Spain. His publications include books on the poet Wallace Stevens, the Vietnam War, and the Bark River Valley in Wisconsin. His poems have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Great Lakes Review, The Southern Review, and other magazines and anthologies. Five Oaks Press will publish his poetry chapbook Always on Fire in 2016.

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Tell us about your favorite bookstore.

We average well over a hundred inches of snow per year where I live, so our best little bookstore is aptly named Snowbound Books. My most recent purchase was Seamus Heaney’s Selected Poems 1988-2013, a handsome volume in my preferred print medium. When traveling, though, I like the convenience of ebooks. My aging eyes also appreciate the option of a larger font.

Who’s your muse? Who or what inspires you? 

Though I’ve lived on both saltwater coasts, I’m most inspired by the Great Lakes region where I grew up. This is especially true now that I’m planted beside our sweetwater sea, Lake Superior. I like to rise before the sun emerges from the lake, pour a cup of coffee, and write until it’s time for breakfast. The rest of the day is free, now that I’m retired, for less frivolous pursuits such as fishing, kayaking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing.