Michelle Boisseau

in-loving-memory

Poet and professor, Michelle Boisseau, 62, Kansas City, died on November 15, 2017. She was born on October 26, 1955 to Fitz Patrick Boisseau and June Tidball Boisseau in Cincinnati, Ohio, the third of their nine children. She received her BA and her MA in English from Ohio University and was awarded her PhD in English from the University of Houston in 1985. She taught at Virginia Intermont College (1985-87) and Morehead State University (1987-1995) before she joined the faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1995, where she was a Professor of English and editor for BkMk Press. While in Kansas City, she was a vital contributor to the Kansas City Literary and Arts community, serving for a time on the the board of the Writer’s Place.

Boisseau was a widely renowned poet, editor, and writer. A poet celebrated for the breadth of her subjects, her startling and vibrant language, and the implacable stance of her authorial vision, Boisseau published five full-length collections of poems, along with smaller chapbooks, short stories, essays, works of literary scholarship, and memoir. Her work earned her national attention and garnered many prestigious awards, which included a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2017 and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1989 and 2010).

The poems in her 2016 collection, Among the Gorgons, were described as “unashamed, gleeful, outrageous, defiant” and praised for their “fierce intelligence” and “astoundingly precise metaphors.” A number of her poems can be found on the website at the Poetry Foundation: poetryfoundation.org. Beginning in 1993, she co-authored the best-selling textbook Writing Poems, the most popular text of its kind and used in colleges and universities across the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Fitz Patrick III and Jonathan, and her sister Madeline Boisseau Vincent. Boisseau is survived by the love of her life, her partner in the delights of language, her husband of 29 years, Thomas Stroik, Professor Emeritus of English at UMKC, and their daughter Anna Boisseau of Washington, D.C. Other survivors include step-daughter Katherine Stroik of Madison, Wisconsin; three sisters Nancy (James) Achberger, Milford, Ohio; Barbara Boisseau (Dominik Chilomer), Newport, Rhode Island; and Denise (Russell) Hoelting, Austin, Texas; two brothers Robert (Tracey) Boisseau, Pleasant Plain, Ohio and Charles Boisseau, Gainesville, Florida, as well as over twenty brothers- and sisters-in-law, several score of nieces and nephews, great-nieces and nephews, and many dearly loved friends, colleagues, fellow writers, and former students.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on November 28 at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Kansas City.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the ACLU–https://action.aclu.org/secure/make-gift-aclu-someones-memory.

5 Comments

  1. Lucia Getsi on April 16, 2022 at 5:09 pm

    Oh dear, I did not know this and it is April 2022! I’ve been thinking about Michelle a lot last couple of weeks and even had a dream about her. Tom, I am Lucia Getsi, and you and Michelle were at my house when she was pregnant. My poetry students were at my home –I think it was after she had given a reading at ISU, and she went upstairs to the bathroom and came down with a very strange look on her face and announced that she thought her water had just broken! And yes indeed. It wasn’t really time, so you and she set off to a doctor I think I had begged to see her immediately, and he said that you must her get back home while you still had time! So off you went. Some time later I gave a reading out there and stayed with you guys. I am just stunned because Michelle always seemed eternally young and untouchable by anything so final as death. She had a wit quicker than lightning and a heart bigger than space. I don’t know what took her, but she can’t be replaced. My love and condolences to you and your family and to the world.

  2. Lucia Getsi on April 16, 2022 at 5:06 pm

    Oh dear, I did not know this and it is April 2022! I’ve had the roughest last three years of my life and haven’t been keeping up with anybody, and now am making a point to get back in touch. And wow! I’ve been thinking about Michelle a lot last couple of weeks and even had a dream about her. Tom, I am Lucia Getsi, and you and Michelle were at my house when she was pregnant. My poetry students were at my home –I think it was after she had given a reading at ISU, and she went upstairs to the bathroom and came down with a very strange look on her face and announced that she thought her water had just broken! And yes indeed. It wasn’t really time, so you and she set off to a doctor I think I had begged to see her immediately, and he said that you must her get back home while you still had time! So off you went. Some time later I gave a reading out there and stayed with you guys. I am just stunned because Michelle always seemed eternally young and untouchable by anything so final as death. She had a wit quicker than lightning and a heart bigger than space. I don’t know what took her, but she can’t be replaced. My love and condolences to you and your family and to the world.

  3. Tom Mahon on November 1, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Condolences to Michelle’s family from the Irish guys who worked in the Homestead, Ocean Grove, 1974, 1975. Michelle, we loved you pet.
    Tom.

  4. Anne (Zahorik) Shapiro on June 21, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Tom my friend, I just happened upon this today. I am so very sorry for the loss of your wonderful wife. Am sending thoughts for a peaceful heart and a hug from afar.
    Abraços, Anne

  5. Craig Schepp on November 22, 2017 at 8:51 am

    I woke up this morning thinking of an old friend and his wife and thought I’d check the internet for Michelle Boisseau. To my surprise, when I found this notice, I was truly saddened and reflected on both (Tom’s and Michelle’s)outstanding careers and intellect. Tom – my sincerest condolences. It seemed, from a distance, that you and Michelle were always quite a team and the fruits of your labors bear that out. Best to you and your family,
    Craig

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