MEET THE AUTHORHEATHER TRESELER
I wrote “The Lucie Odes” in the ten monthsfollowing the death of a woman I loved. Itook, as models, poems by Adrienne Rich,Frank Bidart, Michael Harper, and DanaLevin, which, in their unflinching intimacy, also attend to the person as a historical subject, as what Charles Olson termeda “complex of occasions.” When I met LucieBeaudet at Washington University in 2007,she had survived almost unspeakable violence to become a respected professional, an electron microscopist employed by the medical school. She had received her training from the lateDr. Vernon Fischer of St. Louis University, himself a childhood survivorof the Shoah, who, childless, regarded Lucie as his daughter.
What Lucie had experienced of rural poverty and extreme violenceshe transmuted into a life lived with independence, clarity, and intellectual hunger. She buttressed her knowledge of the world with Danteand Melville, evolutionary biology, and political history. While there isno way to sing a beloved back into being, to summon presence from absence or transcendence from nonbelief, the poem was a way to continuea conversation that spanned a decade and to confirm her life as she haddeparted from it: clear-sighted and alone.
Heather Treseler’s Parturition (2020) won the Munster Literature Centre’s international chapbook prize. Her poems appear in Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, PN Review, Southern Humanities Review, and theIowa Review, and her essays about poetry appear in LARB, Boston Review, and in six books about American poetry. She is associate professorof English and the Presidential Fellow for Art, Education, and Community at Worcester State University and a visiting scholar at the BrandeisWomen’s Studies Center. She has received fellowship support from theAmerican Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Boston Athenaeum.