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This article is taken from PN Review 190, Volume 36 Number 2, November - December 2009.

A Conversation with Linda Gregerson John Burnside
Linda Gregerson is, in the opinion of many, among the finest poets working in America at present. She has published four collections: Fire in the Conservatory (1982), The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep (1996), Waterborne (2002), which won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and Magnetic North (2007), a finalist for the National Book Awards. Gregerson’s poetry has also received awards from the American Academy of Arts, the Poetry Society of America and the Modern Poetry Association, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Humanities Center and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has won the Pushcart Prize four times.

As well as being a poet and incisive critic of contemporary poetry, Linda Gregerson is a highly regarded Renaissance scholar. In 2008, she was appointed the Caroline Walker Bynum Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Michigan, where she has taught literature and creative writing for more than two decades. She is the author of two books of literary criticism, The Reformation of the Subject: Spenser, Milton and the English Protestant Epic (1995) and Negative Capability: Contemporary American Poetry (2001). Comparisons are always dangerous, if not quite odious, yet I venture to suggest that what distinguishes this singular poet’s work is a rare combination of intellectual rigour, uncompromising honesty, a deep sense of compassion for her subjects and a wonderfully subtle rhetorical power. This is poetry that unites highly economical narratives with a singing lyrical line; at the same ...

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