A Hunger by Lucie Brock-Broido

A Hunger (Knopf, 1988), the first collection by Lucie Brock-Broido, who passed away March 6, begins with a promise of resurrection and ends with the image of “the one light left on the small far hill / where someone must be living still”—with the conviction that life will go on. We never know the difference between resurrection and continuity or how much we want either, which was always the secret premise of Brock-Broido, in all the elusive speediness of her lyricism. “In thrice ten thousand seasons, I will come back to this world / In a white cotton dress” was—is—the book’s first declaration and whether this means we will be redeemed or haunted is undecided. A Hunger’s last affirmation is that “After life there must be life.” In the outpouring of love and mourning for Brock-Broido, who was one of her generation’s best poets as well as a teacher to scores of the current generation, the affirmation goes on haunting.—Ryan Smith