Real Courage by Michael Meyerhofer

Real Courage by Michael Meyerhofer is a chapbook that showcases a unique perspective and use of imagery and comparison.  Much like “BPM 37093” (Page 5), Meyerhofer takes often wildly different images and situations together in comparisons that generate an “aha” from the reader after a momentary question mark hovers over their heads.

A smoldering white dwarf
like our own pyrite-colored sun may be.
Proof that after a solar relationship
ends, like most relationships,
with a fiery, bloating rampage
followed by a crash diet
down to blistered, white-hot corestuff,
the leftover carbon crystallizes
into a two-septillion-ton rock

However, in “The Great Refrain” (Page 19), Meyerhofer plays with the notion of refrain in which lines are repeated in a song-like chorus. Rather, the refrain here is more of a repeated emotional response to how things have changed, seemingly more like a lament. “are the remnants of motor-skiffs/and sun-sails, bronze men hauling//titanium fishing lines, mothers/reading to their infants from books//filled with calculus and poetry./That ages before an ice-pole shifted//”  Readers also will appreciate how Meyerhofer explores ideas contrary to conventional wisdom, like comparisons of dogs to the uncivilized in “Ode to Dogs” (page 22).

Real Courage by Michael Meyerhofer is full of unconventional wisdom and unexpected images and comments that reaches beyond the typical rant or disillusionment with the modern world. There also are more personal poems here that strive to make sense of death and loss, but there are others that uncover the surprising reactions of those in society considered more reserved than the rest of us and those that shun technology. Meyerhofer explores the human condition from an unusual perspective and uses language that does not dare hide his meaning.

Poet Michael Meyerhofer

About the Poet:

Michael Meyerhofer‘s third book, Damnatio Memoriae, won the Brick Road Poetry Book Contest. His previous books are Leaving Iowa (winner of the Liam Rector First Book Award) and Blue Collar Eulogies (Steel Toe Books, finalist for the Grub Street Book Prize).

He has also published five chapbooks: Pure Elysium (winner of the Palettes and Quills Chapbook Contest), The Clay-Shaper’s Husband (winner of the Codhill Press Chapbook Award), Real Courage (winner of the Terminus Magazine and Jeanne Duval Editions Poetry Chapbook Prize), The Right Madness of Beggars (winner of the Uccelli Press 3rd Annual Chapbook Competition), and Cardboard Urn (winner of the Copperdome Chapbook Contest).

He received his BA from the University of Iowa and his MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He currently teaches poetry, creative writing, and composition at Ball State University in Muncie, IN.


This is my 23rd book for the 2012 New Authors Challenge.


This is the 4th book for my 2012 Fearless Poetry Exploration Reading Challenge.



***For Today’s National Poetry Month Blog Tour stop, hop over to Books, Thoughts, and a Few Adventures…***


  1. Serena, thank you so much for the insightful review! I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts–not to mention all the wonderful work you’ve put into helping us celebrate Poetry Month. Take care!

  2. I’m glad the confused question marks are only momentary! 🙂

  3. Thanks for checking out the poems in the collection, if you are interested in winning your own copy, feel free to enter the giveaway in the right hand sidebar.

  4. yeah liked that, would want to learn more

  5. Beth Hoffman says

    What a wonderful poem … I felt his pain and burned to crystals right along with him!

  6. Yes, there was definitely an aha moment with that poem! Thanks for sharing it, and happy easter to you and your lovely family!