Poet and essayist Michael Sowder is an associate professor of English at Utah State University, in Logan, Utah. His poetry collection, The Empty Boat, was chosen by Diane Wakoski from over 600 manuscripts to win the T. S. Eliot Prize, was a finalist for the Utah Book Award, and several of its poems were nominated for Pushcart Prizes. He is also the author of a study of Walt Whitman’s poetry, Whitman’s Ecstatic Union. His poems and essays, which explore the human relationship to the natural world and the intersections between religious mysticism, often Buddhist, and daily life, appear widely. Recently featured in Ted Kooser’s nationally-syndicated column, “American Life in Poetry,” his poetry is also forthcoming in the anthology, Poets of the American West. He is presently completing a manuscript currently titled, Prayer and Practice.