Born in Orange, New Jersey in 1942, youngest of seven in an Irish-American family of cops, priests, and politicians, Michael David Lally started out playing piano and reading his poetry in coffeehouses and bars in 1959. In 1962 he joined the Air Force, where he spent more than four years as an enlisted man, and later used the G.I. Bill to attend the University of Iowa Writers Workshop. During those years he wrote the autobiographical South Orange Sonnets, which on publication led to a New York Poetry Center Discovery Award in 1972.
Lally's first book was published in 1970. By 1980 there were twenty, including the 1974 poetry collection Rocky Dies Yellow, and the 1978 collection of prose and poetry Catch My Breath. In 1974 he received a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Award, the same year he wrote a long autobiographical poem, My Life, which, on his receiving his second National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Award in 1981, was denounced as pornography on the floor of the United States Congress by politicians out to discredit and dismantle the NEA.
Lally moved from Manhattan to L.A. in 1982 to find work acting in movies and TV, mostly as a bad guy (like a psycho detective on JAG), and the occasional good guy (a gentle artist on NYPD Blue), while his writing found its way into several movies. In 1997, Cant Be Wrong, a collection of poems, won a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Excellence in Literature Award.
In 1999 Lally moved home to New Jersey and Black Sparrow Press published a collection of poetry and prose, It's Not Nostalgia, which won an American Book Award. In 2001, Black Sparrow published another collection of poetry and prose, It Takes One to Know One.
He wrote "March 18, 2003" for a readingâ€”on what turned out to be the eve of the invasion of Iraqâ€”at the Paula Cooper Gallery in NYC, with Robert Creeley, Anne Waldman, and Ann Lauterbach, and introductory remarks by Ramsey Clark. The poem was published in May of 2004 by Libellum and sold out by that October. A second printing is in the works.
Biography from: michaellally.com