Thanks to the cooperation of the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) and The School of Writing at The New School, as well as the tireless efforts of our students and faculty, we are able to provide interviews with each of the NBCC Awards Finalists for the publishing year 2013.
Zachary Brett Reeves, on behalf of the School of Writing at The New School and the NBCC, interviewed Lucie Brock-Broido about her book Stay, Illusion (Knopf), which is among the final five selections, in the category of Poetry, for the 2013 NBCC awards.
From the Publisher: Stay, Illusion, the much-anticipated volume of poems by Lucie Brock-Broido, illuminates the broken but beautiful world she inhabits. Her poems are lit with magic and stark with truth: whether they speak from the imagined dwelling of her “Abandonarium,” or from habitats where animals are farmed and harmed “humanely,” or even from the surreal confines of death row, they find a voice like no other—dazzling, intimate, startling, heartbreaking. Eddying between the theater of the lavish and the enigmatic, between the gaudy and the unadorned, Brock-Broido’s verse scours America for material to render unflinchingly the here and now. Grandeur devolves into a comic irony: “We have come to terms with our Self / Like a marmoset getting out of her Great Ape suit.” She dares the unexplained: “The wings were left ajar / At the altar where I’ve knelt all night, trembling, leaning, rough / As sugar raw, and sweet.” Each poem is a rebellious chain of words: “Be good, they said, and so too I was / Good until I was not.” Strange narratives, interior and exterior, make a world that is foreign and yet our own; like Dickinson, Brock-Broido constructs a spider-sibling, commanding the “silk spool of the recluse as she confects her eventual mythomania.” And why create the web? Because: “If it is written down, you can’t rescind it.”
Lucie Brock-Broido’s new book of poems, Stay, Illusion, published in October by Alfred A. Knopf, is a Finalist in Poetry for the 2013 National Book Award. Her previous collections from Knopf include Trouble in Mind, The Master Letters, and A Hunger. In 2010, Carcanet brought out her selected poems, Soul Keeping Company in the UK. Her poems have appeared in many magazines and literary journals including The Paris Review, The New York Times, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, The American Poetry Review, Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic, Best American Poetry, and The New Yorker. Brock-Broido has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Awards, The Witter-Bynner Prize from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and the winner of the Massachusetts Book Award. She is Director of Poetry in the School of the Arts at Columbia University, where she was the recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2013. Brock-Broido lives in New York City, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Zachary Brett Reeves is a first-year MFA candidate in Fiction and Poetry at The New School. All of his publications are forthcoming. He lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn.