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Alive Together

New and Selected Poems

by Lisel Mueller

240 pages / 5.50 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations

Poetry

  Paperback / 9780807121283 / October 1996

Winner of the The Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

In a collection that represents over thirty-five years of her writing life, this distinguished poet explores a wide range of subjects, which include her cultural and family history and reflect her fascination with music and the discoveries offered by language. In fact, her book is a testament to the miraculous power of language to interpret and transform our world. It is a testament that invites readers to share her vision of experiences we all have in common: sorrow, tenderness, desire, the revelations of art, and mortality—“the hard, dry smack of death against the glass.”

In the title piece Mueller brings a sense of enduring and unclouded wonder to a recognition of all those whose lives might have been our own. “Speaking of marvels,” says the poem’s speaker, “I am alive.” Thus we, too—alive together—are marvels, and so are our children:

who—but for endless ifs—
might have missed out on being alive
together with marvels and follies
and longings and lies and wishes
and error and humor and mercy
and journeys and voices and faces
and colors and summers and mornings
and knowledge and tears and chance.

Imaginative, poignant, and wise, Alive Together is a marvelous book, an act of faith and courage in the face of life’s enduring mystery.

 

Lisel Mueller was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1924. She has published six books of poetry with LSU Press, including Alive Together: New & Selected Poems (1996), which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize; Waving from Shore (1989); Second Language (1986); The Need to Hold Still (1980), winner of the National Book Award; The Private Life, the 1975 Lamont Poetry Selection; and Dependencies (1998). Her writing honors include the Carl Sandburg Award and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She lives near Chicago, Illinois.

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