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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

 

Domestic Mysticism

Lucie Brock-Broido, 1956

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 on the side
Porch & perch there, portents with quickened heartbeats
You will feel against your ankles as you pass through.

After the first millenium, we were supposed to die out.
You had your face pressed up against the coarse dyed velvet
Of the curtain, always looking out for your own transmigration:
What colors you would wear, what cut of jewel,
What kind of pageantry, if your legs would be tied
Down, if there would be wandering tribes of minstrels
Following with woodwinds in your wake.

This work of mine, the kind of work which takes no arms to do,
Is least noble of all. It's peopled by Wizards, the Forlorn,
The Awkward, the Blinkers, the Spoon-Fingered, Agnostic Lispers,
Stutterers of Prayer, the Flatulent, the Closet Weepers,
The Charlatans. I am one of those. In January, the month the owls
Nest in, I am a witness & a small thing altogether. The Kingdom
Of Ingratitude. Kingdom of Lies. Kingdom of How Dare I.

I go on dropping words like little pink fish eggs, unawares, slightly
Illiterate, often on the mark. Waiting for the clear whoosh
Of fluid to descend & cover them. A train like a silver 
Russian love pill for the sick at heart passes by
My bedroom window in the night at the speed of mirage.
In the next millenium, I will be middle aged. I do not do well
In the marrow of things. Kingdom of Trick. Kingdom of Drug.

In a lung-shaped suburb of Virginia, my sister will be childless
Inside the ice storm, forcing the narcissus. We will send
Each other valentines. The radio blowing out
Vaughan Williams on the highway's purple moor.
At nine o'clock, we will put away our sewing to speak
Of lofty things while, in the pantry, little plants will nudge
Their frail tips toward the light we made last century.

When I come home, the dwarves will be long
In their shadows & promiscuous. The alley cats will sneak
Inside, curl about the legs of furniture, close the skins
Inside their eyelids, sleep. Orchids will be intercrossed & sturdy.
The sun will go down as I sit, thin armed, small breasted
In my cotton dress, poked with eyelet stitches, a little lace,
In the queer light left when a room snuffs out.

I draw a bath, enter the water as a god enters water:
Fertile, knowing, kind, surrounded by glass objects
Which could break easily if mishandled or ill-touched.
Everyone knows an unworshipped woman will betray you.
There is always that promise, I like that. Kingdom of Kinesis.
Kingdom of Benevolent. I will betray as a god betrays,
With tenderheartedness. I've got this mystic streak in me.

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.

by this poet

poem
What was it I was hungry about. Hunger, it is one 
Of the several contraptions I can turn on the off-button to at will.  

Yes, yes, of course it is an "Art." Of course I will not be here 
Long, not the way the percentages are going now.  

He might have been 
                                     Half-beautiful
poem

 

Click the icon above to listen to this audio poem.

poem

Don’t do that when you are dead like this, I said,
Arguably still squabbling about the word inarguably.
I haunt Versailles, poring through the markets of the medieval.
Mostly meat to be sold there; mutton hangs
Like laundry pinkened on its line.
            And gold!—a chalice with a cure