Jacket design by Harry Ford

Jacket design by Harry Ford

A Hunger

Published by Alfred A. Knopf
August 1988
Jacket painting: Vittore Carpaccio, Dream of St. Ursula, c. 1495


The poems of A Hunger are audacious and willful. The dreadful commingles with the beautiful, the magical with the obsessive.

This is the work of an American woman whose disparate subjects range from Edward VI (son of Henry VIII and briefly king of England) to Marilyn Monroe, from Herodotus to Alfred Hitchcock to Marlene Dietrich, to the seven-foot-seven-inch Sudanese basketball star Manute Bol to a survivor of the MOVE bombing in Philadelphia, to the silent, lunatic twins June and Jennifer Gibbons.  All of this unified by the poet’s utterly original voice in a book which is an eclectic tour de force.
Read selected poetry from A Hunger


Praise for A Hunger

“Brock-Broido’s brilliant nervosity and taste for the fantastic impel her to explore the obscure corners of the psyche and the fringes of ordinary human experience . . . The poems in A Hunger are original, strange, often unsettling, and mostly beautiful.”  
—Stanley Kunitz

"These poems are out of Stevens in the abundance, glitter, and seductiveness of their language, out of Browning in the authority of their inhabiting, and out of Plath in the ferocity and passion of their holding on—to feeling, to life, and to us. Yet finally, they are only out of Lucie Brock-Broido, herself, because this is a voice which is hers alone, one we have never heard before and from now on will immediately recognize. When she says, 'I have seen things/at night that other people have not seen,' you believe her. And in the daylight, too. She commands the reader's anxious yet delighted attention, and arouses a hunger to read the work again and again. An astonishing first book."
—Cynthia Macdonald

"Such are the poems Nadja would have written for Andre' Breton, if she had had the sweetness of temperament and the consistency of disposition to write poems rather than (merely) be a poem in the surrealist's encoding memory. But a glance at Brock-Broido's notes to the poems reveals that the poet is troubled into her imaginings, her makings, by a surer response to existence than just a wild heart and a wilderness of culture: such are the poems of a gaudy wisdom. The reader will open, throughout, to a feast!"
—Richard Howard

 "Brock-Broido's talismanic words open into a magical territory of 'Domestic Mysticism' . . . A violently skewed portrait of the female poet and her Muse, a hyped-up version of Stevens and his interior paramour, locked in a soliloquy 'in which being there together is enough' . . . . Something in Brock-Broido likes stealth, toxicity, wildness, neon 'perfect mean lines' . . . . The poems leap off the page." 
—Helen Vendler, The New Yorker read more

"A Hunger introduces a prodigious and ambitious talent . . .Brock-Broido's poems never become paralyzed in irony or despair.  More than Dickinson's or Plath's they insist that the soul retain its connection to life.  The driving force behind these poemsin their relentlessly sustained or brutally clipped sentences, their brilliant timing is the pressure of truth telling, of resistance to quick fixes and simple stances, to all forms of escapism." 
Bonnie Costello, Partisan Review read more
 

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