Linda Gregg

Linda Gregg

Past Event: Thursday, March 25, 2010

At Benaroya Hall — Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall

Poetry Icon

Poetry

Linda Gregg is a wandering poet, capturing landscapes (literal and emotional) as she travels across them. To read her poetry is to travel with her for a while, to trust her as she tells you what she sees and what she feels.

Born in Suffern, New York, in 1942, Gregg was raised in Marin Country, California, and educated at San Francisco State University. Over the last four decades, her poetry has moved across Texas, Greece, and returned to New York.

Myths and concrete images build seamlessly together to create Gregg’s world—a place where grief is given as much attention and care as beauty. Over seven poetry collections and nearly four decades, Gregg’s poetry has been “accumulating with a quiet, slow-burning majesty,” one critic writes. Her first book, Too Bright to See, was published in 1981. Other volumes include AlmaThings and FleshIn the Middle Distance, and most recently, All of It Singing (2008), for which she won the William Carlos Williams Award. She is also the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Foundation Fellowship, a Whiting Writer’s Award, several Pushcart Prizes, and the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, and most recently the Jackson Poetry Prize.

“Poetry is not made of words. / I can say it’s January when / it’s August…. / It is possible to be with someone / who is gone,” Gregg writes in “The Presence in Absence.” There is longing in her lines, but there is also a willingness to let the past exist as it is and as she remembers it. The months, rocks, trees, moonlight, and Greek statues that appear in her poems serve as the backdrop for, and sometimes the cause of, her timeless questions and quiet responses to the coming and going of life.

Gregg “continues to be the builder of beautiful contraptions, poems built steadfastly by real life, bright and stark, truths told tranquil in unblinding light,” a critic writes. Beloved among poets, Gregg is often referred to as quiet, mysterious, haunting, and an acolyte of beauty in all of its forms. Her words have an assumed closeness to her subject material, often addressing an event or person intimately known, giving her readers the sense that they, too, can know this person, place, or feeling if they listen. Reviewers return to the building analogy consistently: “Gregg ushers us into [her poems] carefully,” one claims, “with measured calm, as into a shelter she has built.” Her flights of longing, her ethereal descriptions, her movement from the present into the past and back again, are all grounded in careful craftsmanship and an astounding skill with language.

She has taught at the University of Iowa, Columbia University, and the University of California at Berkeley. She currently teaches at Princeton University and lives in New York City.


The Generosity of Engagement

In the beginning the memory
turned loose in the now turned loose
in the memory of the word winnowing,
winnowed, that I believe in, believe in
in the long going summer of my remembrance
remembering. A faith in the flowers, a faith
in the chosen masters of saving
what to keep and what to throw away.
I learned what to say, hidden and saved.
My recumbent lesson of what is long lost
and saved. The magical unity made
out of what is holy, happy, and clean made.
Blessed by the occasion of my being.
Holy, holy, holy. Saved, saved, saved
in the memory under the turning over of
all things turned under, turned under, under.
Me being jerked away. A pleasing thing
on the strip of wet sand, pausing or walking
or dancing or what the world that hour said.
The generosity of engagement of the ecstatic
in the quiet normal over and over again.
Tidal in the hurry of the last hour.
Each day jerked, junked from the folds originally.
Then torn away a different time
because of the difficulty of the accomplishment.
Of the way so cleanly served, seen, or heard about
later by others in a den a different mauling.
The danger waves might make.
I never endangered myself in the ocean waves
but was unguarded when people came.
Now the beginning of memory.
The cawing of gulls outcalling the calling of men.
Covering the quiet within.


Selected Work
All of It Singing (2008), William Carlos Williams Award
Things and Flesh (1999)
Chosen by the Lion (1994)

Links
Recordings of poet Linda Gregg, with an introduction to her life and work. Recorded 2008, New York

Event Details

Benaroya Hall — Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall

200 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Transportation & Parking

This event will be held in the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. The Recital Hall is located on the upper level of Benaroya Hall, up the stairs to the left side of the Box Office. Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University Street, directly across Second Avenue from the Seattle Art Museum. The public entrance to Benaroya Hall is along Third Avenue.


By Car

  • From Southbound I-5
    Take the Union Street exit (#165B). Continue onto Union Street and proceed approximately five blocks to Second Avenue. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5
    Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Seneca Street exit and move into the left lane. Turn left onto First Avenue and proceed one block. Take the next right (at the Hammering Man sculpture) onto University Street. Continue up the hill two blocks to Third Avenue. Turn left onto Third Avenue. Continue to the next block and turn left onto Union Street. Make the next left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Southbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Denny Way/Downtown exit. Keep right and cross over Denny Way onto Wall Street. Proceed approximately five blocks and turn left onto Second Avenue. Continue south on Second Avenue approximately eight blocks. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.

By Bus
Benaroya Hall is served by numerous bus routes. Digital reader boards along Third Avenue display real-time bus arrival information. For details and trip planning tools, call Metro Rider Information at 206.553.3000 (voice) or 206.684.1739 (TDD), or visit Metro online. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, served by bus and light rail, has a stop just below the Hall (University Street Station).

Parking
The 430-car underground garage at Benaroya Hall provides direct access from the enclosed parking area into the Hall via elevators leading to The Boeing Company Gallery. Enter the garage on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street. Maximum vehicle height is 6’8″. Blink charging stations are available for electric vehicles. The event rate is $16.

Parking is also available at:

  • The Cobb Building (enter on University Street between Third and Fourth Avenues).
  • The Russell Investments Center (enter on Union Street between First and Second Avenues).
  • There are many other garages within a one-block radius of Benaroya Hall, along with numerous on-street parking options.

Accessibility

All of our venues have accessible seating and listening devices available. Click here for more information about accessibility and ADA services at Benaroya Hall.

Please contact us at sal@lectures.org or 206.621.2230 x10 for more details and to let us know you’re coming so we can better accommodate your needs.