“There’s a lightness and grace to the language of Jory Mickelson’s poems, born of the sensual and emotional complexity of male relationships and a sense of belonging. ‘What is the nature of a nest/when hollowed.’ Traveling roads both literal and temporal, Mickelson recaptures a past of long summers and lust, tenderness and trouble. This is a gorgeous, haunting book.”
“Jory Mickelson’s Wilderness//Kingdom blew me away with its tender heart and flinty eyes. Like the man at the bar you know you’ll take home, these poems are irresistible and inevitable. Lovers—on country roads and inside the cars that drive them—are the men that populate each poem of longing, ‘the sound of pursuit still caught in its throat.’ Combining the discovery of desire with an exploration of the landscape of the Mountain West, Mickelson adds to the ever-more-robust American tradition of queering the wild and natural world. How dangerous love can be—’the mountain unable to catch / itself’—especially when embracing the freedom to love our own selves. Here is a book worthy of every stolen and cherished encounter.”
“Stillness pays the most to study,’ writes Jory Mickelson in Wilderness // Kingdom. Stillness has many facets in his hands. The hesitations that hinder queer youth from truly living: ‘leaning to carry / difference in the quiet of myself.’ The silences between father and son. The feverish hush after ecstasy or death. The enriching tranquility of marriage: ‘I taste each of your / doubts.’ Mickelson not only studies stillness, he spins it into gorgeous motion. His language resonates and is agile; the pauses and swerves of life are visible, startling. Wilderness //Kingdom is a remarkable and propulsive debut.”
“It is such a gift when I want to live in a book of poems, when I find myself traveling its paths over and over because there is so much to take in—chokecherry and valley floor, flint cumulonimbus and cottonwood, a sea that does not recognize itself—Wilderness//Kingdom by Jory Mickelson is that collection. From the opening line, God didn’t make me a painter so much as a lover / of them, Mickelson shows his genius at the linebreak and narration. This debut collection offers all that I want in a book—poems that are vulnerable and strong, smart and sensual, poems that hold wonder and wound, and sometimes in the same stanza. How could I not fall in love with this book? We tour the geography of family and childhood, lovers and loss, parade floats and cars. With nature as our backdrop, Michelson’s authentic and engaging voice becomes the landscape we want to live in and love—How the hammer /of the heart swings—the vibrancy of these poems! They are essential and just so good. This is truly one gorgeous collection of poems.”


Floating Bridge Press’s Evergreen Award Tour is an innovative ten-year-long poetry competition beginning in AK/ID/MT/OR/WA. Each year’s selected poet chooses a new five-state region until the E.A.T. becomes a national competition. In 2019, our award winner, Jory Mickelson, chose the following region to add: Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming!