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About this poet

Lucie Brock-Broido was born on May 22, 1956, in Pittsburgh. She received her BA and her MA from Johns Hopkins University, as well as her MFA from Columbia University. Her books of poetry include Stay, Illusion (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), Trouble in Mind (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), The Master Letters (1995), and A Hunger (1988).

In a New York Times review of Trouble in Mind, Maureen N. McLane wrote: "Apprenticed to Wallace Stevens, from whose notebooks she takes the titles of several poems, she writes a sensual, sonically rich poetry, typified by the opening of 'Spain': 'The god-leash leaves / Its lashes on the broad bunched backs / Of sacrificial animals.' This acoustic gorgeousness, along with her highly figurative cast of mind, creates a striking tension: her new theme is austerity, yet her means remain profligate."

Her awards and honors include the Witter-Bynner prize from the Academy of American Arts and Letters, the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award, the Harvard-Danforth Award for Distinction in Teaching, the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize from American Poetry Review, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and a Guggenheim fellowship.

Brock-Broido has taught at Bennington College, Princeton University, and at Harvard University as the director of the creative writing program and as the Briggs-Copeland poet. She is now the director of poetry in the writing division of Columbia University's School of the Arts. She divides her time between New York City and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A Selected Bibliography

Poetry

A Hunger (Alfred A. Knopf, 1988)
The Master Letters (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995)
Trouble in Mind (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004)


Multimedia

From the Image Archive

 

After the Grand Perhaps

Lucie Brock-Broido, 1956

   After vespers, after the first snow
has fallen to its squalls, after New Wave,
after the anorexics have curled
into their geometric forms,
after the man with the apparition
in his one bad eye has done red things
behind the curtain of the lid & sleeps,
after the fallout shelter in the elementary school
has been packed with tins & other tangibles,
after the barn boys have woken, startled
by foxes & fire, warm in their hay, every part
of them blithe & smooth & touchable, 
after the little vandals have tilted
toward the impossible seduction
to smash glass in the dark, getting away
with the most lethal pieces, leaving
the shards which travel most easily 
through flesh as message
on the bathroom floor, the parking lots,
the irresistible debris of the neighbor's yard
where he's been constructing all winter long.
   After the pain has become an old known 
friend, repeating itself, you can hold on to it. 
   The power of fright, I think, is as much
as magnetic heat or gravity.
   After what is boundless: wind chimes, 
fertile patches of the land,
the ochre symmetry of fields in fall,
the end of breath, the beginning
of shadow, the shadow of heat as it moves
the way the night heads west, 
I take this road to arrive at its end
where the toll taker passes the night, reading.
   I feel the cupped heat
of his left hand as he inherits
change; on the road that is not his road
anymore I belong to whatever it is 
which will happen to me.
   When I left this city I gave back
the metallic waking in the night, the signals
of barges moving coal up a slow river north, 
the movement of trains, each whistle
like a woodwind song of another age
passing, each ambulance would split a night
in two, lying in bed as a little girl,
a fear of being taken with the sirens
as they lit the neighborhood in neon, quick
as the fire as it takes fire
& our house goes up in night.
   After what is arbitrary: the hand grazing
something too sharp or fine, the word spoken
out of sleep, the buckling of the knees to cold, 
the melting of the parts to want, 
the design of the moon to cast
unfriendly light, the dazed shadow 
of the self as it follows the self,
the toll taker's sorrow
that we couldn't have been more intimate.
   Which leads me back to the land,
the old wolves which used to roam on it,
the one light left on the small far hill
where someone must be living still.
   After life there must be life.

From A Hunger by Lucie Brock-Broido, published by Alfred A. Knopf. Copyright © 1988 by Lucie Brock-Broido. Reprinted by permission of the publisher and author. All rights reserved.

From A Hunger by Lucie Brock-Broido, published by Alfred A. Knopf. Copyright © 1988 by Lucie Brock-Broido. Reprinted by permission of the publisher and author. All rights reserved.

Lucie Brock-Broido

Lucie Brock-Broido

Lucie Brock-Broido currently serves as the director of poetry in the writing division of Columbia University's School of the Arts.

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In thrice 10,000 seasons, I will come back to this world
In a white cotton dress. Kingdom of After My Own Heart.
Kingdom of Fragile. Kingdom of Dwarves. When I come home,
Teacups will quiver in their Dresden saucers, pentatonic chimes
Will move in wind. A covey of alley cats will swarm
poem

In the roan hour between then & then again, the now, in the Babel
Of a sorrel ship gone horizontal to a prow of night, the breach of owls

Abducted by broad light, but blind, in the crime, the titanesque of rare
Assault--we who have come back--petitioning, from the chair