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Lucie Brock-Broido blazed onto the poetry scene with this first book, when Helen Vendler anointed her in The New Yorker with a lengthy review that described her achievement in A Hunger as "a violently skewed portrait of the female poet and her Muse, a hyped-up version of Stevens and his interior paramour, locked in a soliloquy 'in which being there together is enough.' " No one had written poems quite like these: ornate and wild, exacting and occasionally brutal, ranging in subject matter from Edward VI of England to Marilyn Monroe, from Heroditus to the silent, lunatic twins June and Jennifer Gibbons, from the MOVE bombing in Philadelphia to Jessica McClure, waiting to be rescued at the bottom of a well.
Brock-Broido, we see here, began as a poet of both glittering exterior subjects with a secret and seductive interior life; we can now assess and savor the early inclinations and hints of the more deeply self-searching poet she would become over the years since this dazzling debut.