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Works by
Linda Bierds
(Poet, Writer)
[1945 - ]

lbierds at u.washington dot edu
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Profile created October 26, 2009
  • Flight: New and Selected Poems (2008)
    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.

  • The Seconds (2001)
    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 (1997)
    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 (1994)
    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 (1991)

  • The Stillness, the Dancing: Poems (1988)

  • Flights of the Harvest-Mare (1985)

  • Off the Aleutian Chain (1985)

  • Snaring the Flightless Birds: The Legends of Maui (1982)

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