Susan Ludvigson has published ten collections of poems, most with LSU Press. She has received Guggenheim, Rockefeller, NEA, Fulbright, and Witter-Bynner fellowships as well as North and South Carolina Fellowships. She represented the US at writers’ meetings in Belgium, Canada, France, and the former Yugoslavia. Journal publications include the Atlantic Monthly, the Nation, Poetry, Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, and Five Points. Now Professor Emerita at Winthrop University, she also served as poet-in-residence at the University of South Carolina and Appalachian State University. The Library of Congress recorded a reading of her poems in 1995. She is the former director of the Lena Miles-Wever Todd Poetry series.
Wave If You Can See Me
Publication Date: October 13, 2020
The running theme through the collection Wave as If You Can See Me is the progression of illnesses resulting in the death of the poet’s husband, fiction writer Scott Ely, from the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Interspersed with these poems are her own explorations—in part distraction from the pain of watching her husband’s decline, in part a long-held desire—into painting.
Here, Susan Ludvigson considers the loss of a husband against intricate, often dreamlike landscapes where cockatiels multiply magically in their cages, remembered foreign cities become ominous and strange, and the deceased unfolds into the present, tangible and real. These plainspoken poems conceal enormous complexities of emotion and thought—mournful, hopeful, present to the inevitability of loss and the fact of time. I have long admired Susan Ludvigson’s poetry, and this is her most moving book yet, one I know I’ll return to gladly.—Kevin Prufer, author of In A Beautiful Country
At the beginning of Susan Ludvigson’s sparkling collection, she writes of the spirit, “I want it to gleam / no matter how much / pain infuses it.” These poems have a luminosity that comes only through experience of both suffering and joy. Throughout this book, deeply moving poems about the illness and death of the poet’s husband are interspersed with others that contemplate the interconnectedness of all things—whales, music, stars, and even her husband “drinking Faulkner’s bourbon” somewhere “in the airless beyond.” These are poems that shine with feeling and intelligence, “like stars burning through the debris of history, / like love burning through the dark of loss.”—Patricia Hooper,author of Separate Flights