poem index

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

 

Real Life

Lucie Brock-Broido, 1956

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.
Because in the thirty-six things that can happen

To people, men & women, women & women,
Men & men, in all these things the soul is bound

To be broken somewhere along the line,
That clove-scented, air-colored wanderer blushing

With no memory, no inkling & then proceeds
Across America

In the sap green of the tropics,
Toward the cadmium of a bitter sunrise to a new age,

At the white impossible ice hour, starving, 
Past the electric blue of the rivers melting down,

Above the nude, snuff, terra cotta, maybe fire,
Over the tiny fragile mound of finger bones

Of an Indian who died standing up, 
Through the heliotrope of a song about the sunset,

To live the thirty-six things 
& never comes home.

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

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

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
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