Hello, I’m David Wojahn, and I’m moderating this event, which is a tribute to the poetry of Lynda Hull on the occasion of her recent publication of her Collected Poems, which Graywolf released last year. It’s the first volume of a projected series called Graywolf Re/View, which seeks to reprint some key volumes of recent American poetry, and the series is edited by Mark Doty.
As many of you know, prior to the publication of the Collected, all of Lynda’s work was out of print and had been that way for many years, so we can be very grateful to Graywolf and to Mark for their efforts in bringing the work of an important contemporary poet back into circulation.
But I think it’s important to also say that even during the time when Lynda’s poetry was hard to obtain, it was still finding readers, and readers who came to her work with great admiration—she remained an important influence on a good many people. So this event will attest to Lynda’s continuing significance and may also introduce some new readers to her writing.
Our panelists today are Mark Doty, whose friendship with Lynda was longstanding; David Jauss, who was one of Lynda’s teachers and the teacher who she said most inspired her; Elizabeth Alexander, who has frequently spoken of Lynda’s importance to her; and Brenda Shaughnessy, who’s also drawn inspiration from Lynda’s poetry; and myself—I was Lynda’s husband and the co-editor with Mark of the Collected.
We’re going to hear first from Brenda Shaughnessy, then from Elizabeth Alexander, then from David Jauss, then from myself, and finally from Mark Doty, and if we’re lucky, we’ll conclude the panel with the DVD of Lynda reading at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994—it was about a month prior to her death—and the poem she’ll be reading is “The Window,” the poem which concludes the Collected Poems.
I turn the podium over to Brenda Shaughnessy.