Joseph Millar has lived in many corners of America: raised in western Pennsylvania, he got his M.A. degree in 1970 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, then moved to San Francisco, where he worked jobs as varied as commercial fisherman and telephone installation foreman. He gave that mup to teach, and moved to Oregon where he taught poetry to football players and other students at Oregon State. He is now living in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, poet Dorianne Laux, and is a member of the MFA Poetry Faculty at Pacific University in Oregon. Millar's poems have appeared in such magazines as DoubleTake, TriQuarterly, The Southern Review, APR, and Ploughshares and have won him a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a 2008 Pushcart Prize. His first book, Overtime, was published in 2001 and was shortlisted for the Oregon Book Award. A new collection Blue Rust is due out in 2012 from Carnegie-Mellon.
"American Wedding" captures Millar's sense of humbleness in the face of describing life's enormous emotions, destinies, and mystery through poetry; he describes the process of writing poems this way: "We go there not in the spirit of confrontation but in the spirit of humility and the hope that something good happens. And we go there even if we're afraid nothing good will happen and we're tired. We just go there. That's the way you get something."