Michael Sharkey was born in Canterbury, New South Wales, Australia. The author of nearly 20 collections of poetry, he earned a BA from the University of Sydney and a PhD from the University of Auckland, in New Zealand, where he studied the work of Byron. His poetry collections include Woodcuts (1978), The Way It Is: Selected Poems (1984), Alive in Difficult Times (1991), Look, He Said: Poems (1994), Park (2000), History: Selected Poems 1978–2000 (2002), The Sleeping Plain (2007), Another Fine Morning in Paradise (2012), and the DVD compilation of his work Poetry in Motion.
Sharkey’s poetry offers trenchantly humorous yet sympathetic observations of contemporary culture. His rigorous control of material has been compared to the work of W.H. Auden (Australian Poetry Review) and William Blake (the Poetry Archive). Deb Matthews-Zott, in the Cordite Poetry Review, observed that The Sleeping Plain “dismantles the architecture and reconstructs the minutiae and the epiphanies of contemporary life with a lyrical wit.”
A freelance reviewer, editor, teacher, and former writer-in-the-community in two states, Sharkey has been a professor in the School of the Arts at the University of New England in New South Wales.