Michael J. Leach is an academic and poet with passionate interests in health humanities and science communication. He has a set of scientific tertiary qualifications: a Bachelor of Pharmacy, Graduate Certificate of Science (Applied Statistics), Master of Biostatistics, and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Pharmacoepidemiology. Upon completing his PhD project at the University of South Australia, Michael boxed up his books and returned to his birthplace of Bendigo—a regional Victorian city located on the unceded lands of the Dja Dja Wurrung people. Michael now undertakes interdisciplinary research and teaching at the Monash University School of Rural Health, where he holds a senior lecturer position. Outside office hours, he pens poetry and plays. Michael’s poems reside in Rabbit, Cordite, Meniscus, Verandah, Consilience, The Sciku Project, NatureVolve, Plumwood Mountain, Medical Humanities, the Medical Journal of Australia, and elsewhere. His poems have also been anthologised in One Surviving Poem (In Case of Emergency Press, 2019), No News (Recent Work Press, 2020), Still You (Wolf Ridge Press, 2020), Poetry for the Planet (Litoria Press, 2021), Lockdown Poetry (Liquid Amber Press, 2021), and The 2021 Hippocrates Prize Anthology (The Hippocrates Press, 2021). Michael’s debut poetry collection—a chapbook entitled Chronicity—was published by Melbourne Poets Union in 2020. His science-themed plays ‘The Math’ and ‘Astronomical Connection’ were performed by Bendigo Theatre Company in 2019 and 2021, respectively.
In his first full-length poetry collection, Natural Philosophies, Michael J. Leach grasps for truth and solace by embracing interdisciplinary perspectives and alternative meanings. The poems in this collection address the archaic term ‘natural philosophy’—the philosophical study of nature and the universe—in past, present, and future contexts through the lenses of various natural science disciplines, including botany, zoology, astronomy, chemistry, and medicine. Michael explores a range of urgent personal and public issues, from climate change, extinction, and post-truth logic to assisted dying, natural death, and COVID-19, all the while pinpointing much-needed beauty across physical, emotional, and spiritual domains of existence.