In Memoriam, Lucie Brock-Broido (1956 - 2018)

March 7, 2018

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our beloved Lucie Brock-Broido. As Professor and Director of the Poetry concentration, Lucie was a brilliant guide for generations of students, an esteemed member of the Writing faculty, and a beautiful presence in all of our lives. Lucie died of natural causes Tuesday night at home in the presence of family and friends.


Headshot of Lucie Brock-Broido


Lucie received her BA and her MA from Johns Hopkins University, and her MFA from the School of the Arts. Her book Stay, Illusion, was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Her previous collections of poetry include Trouble in Mind (Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), recipient of the Massachusetts Book Award; The Master Letters (1995); and A Hunger (1988). In 2008, she edited and published Letters to a Stranger, Poems by Thomas James with Graywolf Press. Her many awards and honors include the Witter Bynner prize for poetry from the Academy of American Arts and Letters, the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award, the Harvard-Danforth Award for Distinction in Teaching, the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize from The American Poetry Review, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2013, she was given the Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching.


The New York Times recently announced Lucie's passing in a piece by Richard Sandomir. "Lucie Brock-Broido, whose poetry glistened with embellished, inventive language about her life, beauty, art and real-world people, like a baby who famously fell into a well, died on Tuesday at her home in Cambridge, Mass. She was 61."


In a review in The New Yorker in 2013, the poet and critic Dan Chiasson praised Lucie's poems for their “frolicsome gravity,” and said that while some baffled him, “their stylish spookiness (some combination of Poe and Stevie Nicks)” ensured that they were not boring.


In an interview with alumnus Ricardo Maldonado '08 for Guernica, Lucie said, "I have made several vows in my life and I’ve never broken one yet. The first one, which I made when I was six, was that I would be a teacher."


We are so thankful that vow led her to Columbia. She will be deeply missed.


We invite you to share memories of Lucie by emailing or tweeting @ColumbiaSOA.