Michael Torres


Michael Torres is a VONA distinguished alum and CantoMundo fellow. In 2016 he received his MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato, was a winner of the Loft Mentor Series, received an Individual Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and was awarded a Jerome Foundation Research and Travel Grant to visit the pueblo in Jalisco, Mexico where his father grew up. Michael was born and brought up in Pomona, CA, where he spent his adolescence as a graffiti artist. He teaches in the MFA program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and through the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. Source

Writing Prompt

Imagine you’re an astronaut stuck in outer space. And it’s just you. Only you.

What would you write about? What 


do you see outside your spaceship windshield? What do you miss? Who is your

brother now, all those miles down? Where’s west? What would you have

brought, had you known you would be out here, maybe forever, all by yourself? 


What about regret? What if 


there are whole days where you don’t think of your hands? How closely related 


is loneliness to remembrance?—when you let yourself think about it? 


Do the stars feel heavier now? 


Is there, truly, anything you would do over?—knowing everything you know 

now? If regret was a type of animal, any animal, what song would it sing in you? 


Outside are all these tiny windows you can’t look through. 


Do you miss having a sky to throw wishes against? What did it look like last?—

describe the blue. 


What phrases do you miss people saying? By “people” I mean: 


write about something small—but with great detail—about everyone you love.


What blurs then builds a forest inside you? Is that too specific? Pretend


it’s summer again and that you’re the fire for it—would it even be worth writing about? 


Would you, by now, meaning in outer space, and very much alone, want to replay the moments of your life you wished had gone differently?—Or have you gotten over it all already? What stage are we in? Is being stuck in space like dying and not getting to ghost-visit your own funeral? Which is the first moment you’d go back to in order to change it? By it I mean where the regret sprang from. Would you feel bad about the rippling? Is worry just a wider room? There is always a box in which regret will fit. After you tape it shut, describe the sound. Describe the blue.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Ars Poetica

Memory & The Past

Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


an instruction or a command

Interrupted Clause

a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered