MICHAEL SALCMAN was born in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia in 1946 and came to the United States in 1949. He began writing poetry while a student at Midwood High School in Brooklyn. He attended the Combined Program in Liberal Arts and Medical Education at Boston University where he received both the B.A. and M.D. in 1969. After a surgical internship, he trained in neurophysiology at the National Institutes of Health and did a residency in neurological surgery at Columbia University. He began his academic career at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1976 and served as chairman of neurosurgery from 1984 through 1991. His early medical career was profiled by Jon Franklin and Alan Doelp in their book, Not Quite A Miracle (Doubleday, 1983). He was named a Distinguished Alumnus of Columbia’s Neurological Institute in 1985 and of Boston University’s School of Medicine in 2001. In 1991 he was elected President of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. He is the author of almost 200 medical and scientific papers and the author or editor of six textbooks, most recently the two-volume 2nd edition of Kempe’s Operative Neurosurgery (Springer-Verlag, 2004).
A past President of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, his essays on the relationship between the arts and sciences & the visual arts and the brain have appeared in Urbanite, Neurosurgery, Creative Non-Fiction and on-line at such venues as PEEKreview.net and artbrain.org. He regularly gives lectures on the History of Contemporary Art from 1945 to the Present at the Osher Institute of Towson University, the Art Seminars Group, the Osher Institute at Johns Hopkins and the Contemporary Museum. Seminars and lectures on art and the brain have been held at The Cooper Union in New York, the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, the Association for Research in Art and Religion in New York and the Walters Art Museum. His art and book reviews currently appear on his Blog at michaelsalcman.posterous.com.
He has been writing poetry for almost forty years. His earliest poems, some of which appeared in Bitterroot, date from 1963 through 1977. After a ten-year hiatus, he began to write again. The new poems have been widely published in such journals as Alaska Quarterly Review, Barrow Street, Harvard Review, Hopkins Review, The Hudson Review, New Letters, New York Quarterly, Notre Dame Review, The Ontario Review, Poet Lore, Raritan and Rattle. His work has been nominated for six Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Web Award, and included in the last three Alhambra Poetry Calendars, an International Anthology of Classic and Contemporary Poetry. His poetry has been heard on NPR’s "All Things Considered", on WYPR’s "The Signal" and in Lee Boot’s award-winning feature-length documentary about the brain and creativity, Euphoria (2008).
He is the author of four chapbooks: Plow Into Winter (Pudding House, Ohio, 2003), The Color That Advances (Camber Press, New York, 2003), ekphrastic poems on artists and works of art, A Season Like This (Finishing Line, Kentucky, 2004) and Stones in Our Pockets (Parallel Press, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2007), devoted to medical poems. His first collection, The Clock Made of Confetti (Orchises Press, Washington, D.C., 2007) was nominated for The Poet’s Prize in 2009 and was a Finalist for The Towson University Prize in Literature. His second collection, The Enemy of Good Is Better, was published by Orchises in 2011. In 2012 a suite of his poems were set to music by noted Baltimore composer Lorraine Whittlesey and received their premiere at An Die Musik LIVE on April 28th. His anthology of classic and contemporary poems on doctors and diseases is forthcoming.
He and his wife Ilene live in Baltimore with a demanding cat; they have two children who are presently out of the house.