Linda Gregerson

b. 1950
Linda GregersonNina Subin

Linda Gregerson is the author of several collections of poetry and literary criticism. A Renaissance scholar, a classically trained actor, and a devotee of the sciences, Gregerson produces lyrical poems informed by her expansive reading that are inquisitive, unflinching, and tender. Tracing the connections she finds between science and poetry, Gregerson says, “I think there are rhythms of thought, fragile propositions about the intersections of human understanding and human habitus, robust intersections of the pragmatic and the sublime, that science shares with art, and I love the thought that poetry can learn from and do homage to its near cousins. The great thing about “facts” (and the scientists are much more sophisticated skeptics than the poets are) is that they put up resistance. Resistance is good for art, and for thinking in general.”

As a reviewer for The New Yorker noted, “Gregerson’s rich aesthetic allows her best poems to resonate metaphysically.” After her first collection, Fire in the Conservatory (1982), frustrated by the way her left-justified block stanzas seemed to stifle the syntactical leaps in her poetry, Gregerson created a specialized, sinuous tercet form in which she worked for nearly 20 years. Of the form’s advantages, Gregerson notes, “The tercets were the first formal vehicle I found that seemed to me to be properly flexible, and true. Especially important was that second, deeply indented line, the ‘pivot line’ as I conceived it, often only a single metrical foot long. It gave me a kind of skeletal resistance, something that syntax could work against, and thus it became a true generative proposition, not just a kind of packaging. The lineation produced the poem.” With Magnetic North (2007), Gregerson moved on from the tercet to other modes of formal experimentation.

Magnetic North was a National Book Award finalist, and Waterborne (2002) won the Kingsley Tufts Award. Gregerson’s other awards include the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, the Consuelo Ford Award from the Poetry Society of America, three Pushcart Prizes, and the Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine. She has also received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Humanities Center, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Gregerson holds degrees from Oberlin College, Northwestern University, the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and Stanford University. She has taught at the University of Michigan and the Warren Wilson low-residency MFA program.

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POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

LIFE SPAN 1950–

Linda Gregerson

Biography

Linda Gregerson is the author of several collections of poetry and literary criticism. A Renaissance scholar, a classically trained actor, and a devotee of the sciences, Gregerson produces lyrical poems informed by her expansive reading that are inquisitive, unflinching, and tender. Tracing the connections she finds between science and poetry, Gregerson says, “I think there are rhythms of thought, fragile propositions about the . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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