Michael Gallagher (he/him/his) is a writer, painter, musician, and book curator from Oakland, California. He was born of an Irish teacher and a Mexican punk rocker. He got his start writing lyrics in a punk band at the age of 12 in Stockton, California. Later in his teens he joined a spoken word poetry collective called With Our Words and helped lead them to the semi-finals of the Brave New Voices competition two years in a row. A short time after that Michael attended California College of the Arts in Oakland and San Francisco with a major in Writing and Literature. During his stay at CCA he got to learn from masters such as Ishmael Reed and take painting courses on the side. Last year Michael published his first collection of poetry entitled Purple Needle Grass. Purple Needle Grass is a surreal ode to Nasella Pulchra as well as an aggressive, political, and beautiful take on the value of nature. Michael’s poetry often interweaves history, landscape, and personal experience. His work embodies heavy doses of reality as well as a call for change. Michael has worked with organizations such as La Pena – a Chilean-American culture center in Berkeley, California, and FME – an after-school program that provides hip-hop courses to kids in public schools. He is currently working on a science-fiction novel about renewable energy, as well as a collection of poetry about the service industry. For the last few years Michael has played and managed an anti-capitalist rock band who recently played a music festival organized by the anti-human trafficking organization Stellium. He first got into protest during the Occupy Oakland movement in 2011 and hopes to delve deeper into the world of political activism and environmental justice.

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