poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

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

 

How Can It Be I Am No Longer I

Lucie Brock-Broido, 1956

Winter was the ravaging in the scarified
Ghost garden, a freak of letters crossing down a rare

Path bleak with poplars. Only the yew were a crewel
Of kith at the fieldstone wall, annulled

As a dulcimer cinched in a green velvet sack.
To be damaged is to endanger—taut as the stark

Throats of castrati in their choir, lymphless & fawning
& pale. The miraculous conjoining

Where the beamless air harms our self & lung,
Our three-chambered heart & sternum,

Where two made a monstrous
Braid of other, ravishing.

To damage is an animal hunch
& urge, thou fallen—the marvelous much

Is the piece of Pleiades the underworld calls
The nightsky from their mud & rime. Perennials

Ghost the ground & underground the coffled
Veins, an aneurism of the ice & spectacle.

I would not speak again. How flinching
The world will seem—in the lynch

Of light as I sail home in a winter steeled
For the deaths of the few loved left living I will

Always love. I was a flint
To bliss & barbarous, a bristling

Of tracks like a starfish carved on his inner arm,
A tindering of tissue, a reliquary, twinned.

A singe of salt-hay shrouds the orchard-skin,
That I would be—lukewarm, mammalian, even then,

In winter when moss sheathes every thing alive
& everything not or once alive.

That I would be—dryadic, gothic, fanatic against
The vanishing; I will not speak to you again.

From The Master Letters by Lucie Brock-Broido, published by Alfred A. Knopf. Copyright © 1997 by Lucie Brock-Broido. Reprinted by permission of the the publisher and author. All rights reserved.

From The Master Letters by Lucie Brock-Broido, published by Alfred A. Knopf. Copyright © 1997 by Lucie Brock-Broido. Reprinted by permission of the 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

 

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

poem

Soon the electrical wires will grow heavy under the snow.
I am thinking of fire of the possibility of fire & then moving

Across America in a car with a powder blue dashboard,
Moving to country music & the heart

Is torn a little more because the song says the truth.