Second Language is the fourth volume of work from the highly acclaimed poet Lisel Mueller. The second language of the title, English, supplanted Mueller’s native language when she came to the United States from Hitler’s Germany at age fifteen. But other second languages are at work here as well. The poems in this collection have to do with memory and metaphor, two forces that enable us to interpret our experience. Each is in a sense a second language, and in Mueller’s employ each gains expression in an imaginative and humanistic voice. In “English as a Second Language,” the various meanings of Second Language come together lucidly and effectively.
About the Author
Lisel Mueller was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1924. She published six books of poetry with LSU Press, including Alive Together: New & Selected Poems (1996), which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize; Waving from Shore (1989); Second Language (1986); The Need to Hold Still (1980), winner of the National Book Award; The Private Life, the 1975 Lamont Poetry Selection; and Dependencies (1998). Her writing honors included the Carl Sandburg Award and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.