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September 2, 2010The Arsenal Building, Central ParkNew York, NYFrom the Academy Audio Archive

About this poet

Monica Youn grew up in Houston, Texas. She received a BA from Princeton University, a JD from Yale Law School, and an MPhil from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

Youn is the author of Blackacre (Graywolf Press, 2016), a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award in poetry; Ignatz (Four Way Books, 2010), a finalist for the 2010 National Book Award; and Barter (Graywolf Press, 2003).

Of Blackacre, Stanley Fish writes, “In Monica Youn’s remarkable series of poems, words and objects are alike subjected to a probing intelligence that is at once philosophical and psychological. The precision of observation at every level is almost overwhelming.”

Youn has received poetry fellowships from the Library of Congress, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Stanford University. She is also known for her work as a lawyer specializing in election law. She has previously taught at Bennington College, Columbia University, and Warren Wilson College, among others. She currently teaches at Princeton University and lives in New York City.


Bibliography

Blackacre (Graywolf Press, 2016)
Ignatz (Four Way Books, 2010)
Barter (Graywolf Press, 2003)

Ignatz, Pop Quiz (audio only)

 

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Monica Youn

Monica Youn

Monica Youn is the author of Blackacre (Graywolf Press, 2016). She teaches at Princeton University and lives in New York City.

by this poet

poem

the trees all planted in the same month after the same fire

            each thick around
            as a man’s wrist

meticulously spaced grids cutting the sunshine

            into panels into planks
            and crossbeams of light

an incandescent architecture that is the

poem
It was hardly a high-tech operation, stealing The Scream.
That we know for certain, and what was left behind--
a store-bought ladder, a broken window,
and fifty-one seconds of videotape, abstract as an overture.

And the rest? We don't know. But we can envision
moonlight coming in through the broken
poem

To section off
is to intensify,

to deaden.
Some surfaces

cannot be salvaged.
Leave them

to lose function,
to persist only

as armature,
holding in place

those radiant
squares

of sensation—
the body a dichotomy