Jacket Design by Carol Devine Carson  

Jacket Design by Carol Devine Carson  

now available in paperback


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Stay, Illusion
 

Published by Alfred A. Knopf
October 2013
Jacket Painting: Anonymous, The Wilton Diptych, c. 14th Century


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.”
Read selected poetry from Stay, Illusion


 

Lucie Brock-Broido reads from Stay, Illusion
2013 NBA Finalists Reading, The New School

 

Praise for Stay, Illusion

“Welcome, at long last again, to Lucie Brock-Broido's world—a world wrenched and wrought and pincered into position from the most febrile imagination poetry has to offer. Mortally preoccupied. Morally centered—simple and clear on that front. A name for everything. A title for everything. A descriptor of color that even the most subtle, most painstakingly restored tapestry could not compare. Would that we all had such sorcery. If she wants the radiance to last a little longer, just a little longer, how can we not join in? Stay, Illusion. Stay.”
—C. D. Wright


“Long have I held the fire-opal brilliance of Lucie Brock-Broido's work in rare esteem. Eschewing contemporary conventions—like Duncan writing 'fancies in a literal age'—Brock-Broido's empathic lyrical gift attends to the delicate task of reshaping the world. She does so lucidly and lucently. Stay, Illusion sheds light on the dark chambers of life and death, arguing artfully for compassion and against cruelty. 'It was what it might have been to be alive, but tenderly,' she writes, and tenderly let these poems be received. They are soul.” 
D. A. Powell


“Ethereal and yet eerily precise, Stay, Illusion is a powerful new book of poems that offers a masterful attention to grief and a compelling empathy for those that remain behind.  Trembling with an almost otherworldly language that is at once meticulous and fierce, Brock-Broido’s poems open up the channels between the living and the dead, allowing for a hypnotic conversation that is as piercing as it is utterly breathtaking.”
2013 National Book Awards, Judges’ Citation- Stay, Illusion


Brock-Broido fills the page with long, sweeping lines, taking all the space she needs for her motley cotillions of jostling and twirling ideas and images.  Her counterintuitive word choices and usage, sneaky metaphors, and reeled-in-from-afar allusions all somersault through the mind, sparking, flashing…. With a fingertip, a raised eyebrow, the touch of a divining rod, a whirled cloak, Brock-Broido sets poems in motion.  Brock-Broido is brainy, alluring, witty, and tough.” 
Donna Seaman, Booklist
 

Gorgeous and grim, elaborate yet forthright about the causes (and the effects) of its sadness, this fourth collection from Brock-Broido (Trouble in Mind ) spins, drapes, and sculpts its virtuosic figures around the ideas and emotions of mourning. . . . Part tapestry, part astronomy, part dollhouse, the metaphorical verve that has made Brock-Broido influential . . . remains abundant.” 
Publishers Weekly  (starred and boxed) read more


The world created by Brock-Broido (Stay, Illusion) is elegant, self-contained, baroquely sensuous, and gaspingly, glazedly beautiful.”
Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal


“Brock-Broido tells a tale that feels like something remembered from childhood fairy tales— this time told in shards—explored as if we were children, fully awake. . . . I read Brock-Broido and say something there was here, and after that kind of reading experience we will never be the same.”
Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books


“The exquisite, lush, odd music of these poems paired with cross-hair insights is irresistible.”
Carol Muske-Dukes, Los Angeles Times


“Lucie Brock-Broido embodies the myth of the Poet as someone separate, hiding in alcoves as a child and hiding in imagination as an adult. Yet the poems of ‘Stay, Illusion’ connect with others, confess a need for touch if not for understanding. There’s an undercurrent of vulnerability that does not detract from their artfulness, but rather includes readers in the art. . . . Brock-Broido’s poetry has always been transcendent, able to leap into the otherworldly at will.”
Erica Wright, Poetry Editor of Guernica Magazine, Review from Goodreads


The words of Lucie Brock-Broido’s poetry collection “Stay, Illusion” shift enticingly in and out of clarity, reminiscent of the way that the illusions of the past haunt us even as they yield to the immediacy of life in the present. . . . Brock-Broido writes with an impressive agility of language throughout the collection, delivering short meditation-like poems where each word stands out as an unexpected and yet resonating presence.”
Victoria Zhuan, The Harvard Crimson


Lucie Brock-Broido embodies the myth of the Poet as someone separate, hiding in alcoves as a child and hiding in imagination as an adult. Yet the poems of ‘Stay, Illusion’ connect with others, confess a need for touch if not for understanding. There’s an undercurrent of vulnerability that does not detract from their artfulness, but rather includes readers in the art. . . . Brock-Broido’s poetry has always been transcendent, able to leap into the otherworldly at will.” "With exceptional richness, metaphorical flamboyance, and musicianship, the poems in Lucie Brock-Broido's soaring Stay, Illusion (Knopf) mourn her father, victims of the death penalty, and others lost.” 
Vanity Fair


“Lucie Brock-Broido's new collection is, in many ways, about the noncorporeal: Death, mourning, the tangled intangibles of language and the power of poetic imagination, like the "illusions" of the title, haunt this book. But Brock-Broido's work is simultaneously lush, tactile and physical — full of fabrics, flavors and colors, building up layers of objects and perceptions.”
NPR, Book Summary read more


“Lucie Brock-Broido . . . is one of the important 'elliptical poets,' named by Stephen Burt, who seek to 'undermine the coherence of the speaking selves.' Stay, Illusion is almost a manifesto to break free of the identification: 'We have come to terms with our Self / Like a marmoset getting out of her Great Ape suit.”
The Daily Beast, The National Book Award Longlist for Poetry


“A National Book Award finalist and a National Book Critics Circle nominee, Stay, Illusion, Lucie Brock-Broido's fourth collection of poems, presents readers with a lush, verdant world and the consciousness of a speaker that somehow registers every detail of both her physical and psychic environments in a way that is perhaps unmatched in contemporary poetry. . . . There is a great weight in every line, every word, and arguably, she has a greater sense for the possibilities of the poetic line than any other contemporary; the emotional range she displays in a single line can frequently be both exhilarating and devastating.”
Melinda Wilson, Cold Front Magazine


“Moments of Stay, Illusion arrest us with their bald sentiment. . . . its expansive diction, its redefinition of central metaphysical concepts, its emotional honesty and directness, all combine to explore the ambiguities of being human in a world threatening to human and non-human animals on the large scale and on the individual level. . . . Stay, Illusion asks us to live in ambiguity and be OK with it. It holds these ambiguities together, requiring us to believe all possible meanings at once.” 
Barbara Duffey, Drunken Boat