Michael Castro, influential St. Louis poet, dead at 73


St. Louis Poet Laureate and retired professor Michael Castro performs a reading at Lindenwood in 2015.
File photo by Isis Wadleigh.

MITCHELL KRAUS Editor-in-Chief

Michael Castro, a longtime professor at Lindenwood University, has died at 73 years old.

Castro served as the program director of evening communications and writing programs at Lindenwood from 1980 until 2012, when he retired. His programs were a part of the college of individualized education, which was renamed to the school of accelerated degree programs in 2015.

In 2014 he was appointed the first poet laureate of St. Louis. The office of the poet laureate is an official role charged with promoting poetry, literacy, and learning throughout the St. Louis region, according to the St. Louis city government website. Poet laureates serve two-year terms.

Castro also created a bi-annual, international literary magazine called the River Styx. The first issue was released in 1975, six years before Castro received his doctorate in American literature from Washington University. 

Castro is remembered fondly by Charlene Engleking, a writing professor in the accelerated degree program. 

“Michael was incredibly student-focused as a mentor,” Engleking said. “You cannot underestimate the number of poets in the St. Louis area who were influenced by him.”

Castro is survived by his wife, son, two stepchildren and seven grandchildren. Services are scheduled for Jan. 20 at the Central Reform Congregation at 5020 Waterman Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108. Services run from 3-7 p.m.