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Ann Lauterbach

Born in 1942, Ann Lauterbach was raised in New York City. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, she attended Columbia University on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. She moved to London before completing her M.A. in English Literature.

She lived in London for eight years, working variously in publishing and art institutions. On her return to the United States, she worked for a number of years in art galleries in New York before she began teaching.

Lauterbach is the author of several poetry collections, including Under the Sign (Penguin, 2013) and Or to Begin Again (Penguin, 2009), which was nominated for the National Book Award and which takes its name from a sixteen-poem elegy inspired by both Lewis Carroll's Alice and T. S. Eliot's The Wasteland. She is also the author of Hum (2005), If in Time: Selected Poems 1975–2000 (2001), On a Stair (1997), And for Example (1994), Clamor (1991), Before Recollection (1987), and Many Times, but Then (1979), as well as a book of essays, The Night Sky: Writings on the Poetics of Experience.

About her work, John Ashbery has said: "Ann Lauterbach's poetry goes straight to the elastic, infinite core of time."

She is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York State Foundation for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and in 1995, she was awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship.

In 2012, she was named the Sherry Distinguished Poet at the University of Chicago. Lauterbach has also taught at Brooklyn College, Columbia University, the Iowa Writer's Workshop, Princeton University, the City College of New York, and Yale Graduate School of the Arts where she was a visiting core critic. She is currently Schwab Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard College, where she has also been, since 1991, co-chair of writing in the Milton Avery School of the Arts.

She lives in Germantown, New York.

Selected Bibliography


Under the Sign (Penguin, 2013)
Or to Begin Again (Penguin, 2009)
Hum (Penguin, 2005)
If in Time: Selected Poems 1975–2000 (Penguin, 2001)
On a Stair (Penguin, 1997)
And for Example (Penguin, 1994)
Clamor (Penguin, 1991)
Before Recollection (Princeton University Press, 1987)
Sacred Weather (The Grenfell Press, 1984)
Closing Hours (Red Ozier Press, 1983)
Later That Evening (Jordan Davies, 1981)
Many Times, but Then (Texas University Press, 1979)
Book One (The Spring Street Press, 1975)
Vertical, Horizontal (The Seafront Press, 1971)


The Night Sky: Writings on the Poetics of Experience (Penguin, 2005)

Collaborations With Artists

Thripsis, with Joe Brainard (Vermont Z Press, 1998)
A Clown, Some Colors, A Doll, Her Stories, A Song, A Moonlit Cove, with Ellen Phelan (The Whitney Museum, 1996)
How Things Bear Their Telling, with Lucio Pozzi (Collectif Generation, 1990)
Greeks, with Jan Groover and Bruce Boice (The Hollow Press, 1984)

By This Poet



The days are beautiful
The days are beautiful.

I know what days are.
The other is weather.

I know what weather is.
The days are beautiful.

Things are incidental.
Someone is weeping.

I weep for the incidental.
The days are beautiful.

Where is tomorrow?
Everyone will weep.

Tomorrow was yesterday.
The days are beautiful.

Tomorrow was yesterday.
Today is weather.

The sound of the weather
Is everyone weeping.

Everyone is incidental.
Everyone weeps.

The tears of today
Will put out tomorrow.

The rain is ashes.
The days are beautiful.

The rain falls down.
The sound is falling.

The sky is a cloud.
The days are beautiful.

The sky is dust.
The weather is yesterday.

The weather is yesterday.
The sound is weeping.

What is this dust?
The weather is nothing.

The days are beautiful.
The towers are yesterday.

The towers are incidental.
What are these ashes?

Here is the hate
That does not travel.

Here is the robe
That smells of the night

Here are the words
Retired to their books

Here are the stones
Loosed from their settings

Here is the bridge
Over the water

Here is the place
Where the sun came up

Here is a season
Dry in the fireplace.

Here are the ashes.
The days are beautiful.

Day (audio only)


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