Michael Pickering was born in Derby, England, in 1935, and attended Bemrose School. He is a graduate of University College, Oxford, and a doctor of theoretical linguistics. He has taught English in London and elsewhere, including Turin, Italy. Before retiring to Oxford, where he now lives, he lectured for many years in English and linguistics at the University of Turku (Turun Yliopisto),Finland. He is married and has one daughter. Michael has been writing poetry since the age of seven and "The Compass Dances" spans most of his life's work. Its range of form, as well as subject, is very wide. Michael's poetry records not only deep and acute reflections on people, places, animals, as well as mystical experiences, and responses to major life events, such as marriage and the birth of a child, but also gives humorous glances at the experiences of parents, teachers, writers and investors... among others. In brief: The Compass Dances is one person's take on life, time and death. Complementing these responses to the experiences of an individual life, The Compass Dances includes "Cosmos" , a lyrical history of the universe, which seeks to capture science and myth in a single embrace. And, for good measure, there is a commentary on "Cosmos", and a set of end notes which try to put the author's ideas on poetry into context.