[1945 - ]
lbierds at u.washington dot edu |
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Profile created October 26, 2009
Flight: New and Selected Poems
Hailed as “visionary” by The New Yorker and
“radiant” by The New York Times Book Review, Linda Bierds returns
with a collection that gives us the best of her astonishing work, and then
gives us more: the gift of fifteen new poems. As a poet, she has always
shied away from the easy indulgences of confessional poetry, turning her
attention instead to the things that unite us in our common humanity— art,
science, music, history—and bringing alive people (some famous, some
little-known) who have made contributions to these spheres. The new poems
are no less vital, transporting the reader from medieval to modern-day
Venice to the moon; from anatomical sketches to primitive mapping and
early naturalism— returning always to the empathy that guides her work.
These tightly woven poems are linked organically through repeating
imagery, reflected and refracted through the prism of Bierds’s singularly
rich imagination. Her language itself communicates just as much as this
visuality; as Stanley Plumly has said, “The autobiography of her
imagination would only be half as intense were the writing itself less
beautiful and clear, less perfect to pitch.”
First Hand (2005)
MacArthur fellow Linda Bierds probes the borders of
science and faith in a volume that takes this prizewinning poet to a new
level of achievement.
The ghost of the good monk Gregor Mendel haunts these poems as they
trundle through the centuries, swaying from wonder to foreboding and
resting most often on the fault line of science, where human achievement
brings both praise and disquietude.
These thirty linked poems display Linda Bierds at her best: strong,
visceral, playful, infused with wonder and color, they both amaze and
delight. Bierds's imagery has always been powerful, but here, the subtlety
of its permutations throughout the volume is nothing short of
breathtaking. Her treatment of substance and insubstantiality, of the
material world and "the hummocks of naught"-the gaps filled perhaps by
faith, perhaps by scientific progress-adds depth of meaning to the text,
and her rich language sounds in the mind's ear to startling effect.
Scarcely more than a decade ago, Publishers
Weekly wrote in its review of the work of a little-known poet, "This
haunting, evocative showcase marks Linda Bierds as a poet to follow with
anticipation." They could not have been more prescient. In the years
since, Bierds has gone from strength to strength. "Bierds's poems occupy a
brilliant geography of landscape and imagination, expressed as passion and
discovery," novelist Thomas McGuane said of that same book. Of her last,
poet W. S. Merwin declared, "What an indispensable poet she has become!"
while The New York Times Book Review called it "radiant," and
The New Yorker hailed it as "visionary."
With this new volume of poetry, Bierds continues to explore the central
themes that have always concerned her: human frailty and the striving for
immortality through memory and creative acts. But a new theme emerges in
these poems: the longing for salvation of the mind made mad, of the body
broken, of the searching soul.
The Profile Makers
Beauty of language, dazzling imagination, and a
fierce empathy for her subjects distinguishes Linda Bierd's poetry and has
made her "America's premier poet of description" (the HUDSON REVIEW).
Whether writing of the cave paintings of Altamira, Rembrandt etchings, or
Mathew Brady's glass plates, Bierds uses the captured image to explore
larger issues of memory, grief, and loss.
The Ghost Trio
An anthology of poetry by the author of Heart and
Perimeter and The Stillness, the Dancing journeys through time
to capture the ghosts of humankind's shared consciousness as revealed
through the mirrors of imagination and immortality.
Heart and Perimeter
The Stillness, the Dancing:
Flights of the Harvest-Mare
Off the Aleutian Chain
Snaring the Flightless Birds: The Legends of Maui
American Alphabets: 25 Contemporary Poets
(2006), David Walker, ed.
Includes works by Agha Shahid Ali, Arthur Sze,
Beckian Fritz Goldberg, Bob
Hicok, Bruce Beasley, Bruce Weigl, C. D. Wright,
Carol Muske-Dukes, David St. John,
Larry Levis, Lee Upton, Linda Bierds, Linda
Gregerson, Marianne Boruch,
Mark Doty, Mary
Ruefle, Norman Dubie,
Pamela Alexander, Rita Dove, Robin Behn, Susan Stewart, Thomas Lux, and
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