2003, 92 pages
Winner of the Asian American 7th Annual Prize for Literature
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge is one of the very few poets writing in the United States today whose voice and writing style are immediately recognizable. In her new collection, NEST, the medium of her poetry continues to be the sentence. To the formalities of syntax and grammar she adds the structures of domestic architecture, isolation, health, desire, play, and family life. Her writing offers a unique poetics of metaphysics and manners. As always the poetry is sensuous and stunning.
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge was born in Beijing and grew up in Masschusetts. She received degrees in poetry from Reed College and Columbia University School of the Arts and taught poetry at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her books include Empathy from Station Hill Press and five books from Kelsey Street Press: Sphericity, Four Year Old Girl, and NEST with covers and design by her husband Richard Tuttle, and Endocrinology and Concordance, collaborations with the artist Kiki Smith. Among her awards are two National Endowment Fellowships, two Before Columbus National Book Awards and two Asian American Writers' Workshop Book Awards. I Love Artists: New and Selected Poems was released from the University of California Press in 2006. Her collaborations include Hiddenness with Richard Tuttle publised by the Whitney Museum Library Fellows in 1997 and The Lit Cloud with Kiki Smith from Lelong Gallery in 2012. Hello, the Roses was published by New Directions in 2013. In 2021 Berssenbrugge was named the winner of Yale's 2021 Bollingen Prize for American poetry. The prize is awarded biennially to an American poet for the best book of poetry in the previous two years or for lifetime achievement. For Berssenbrugge the award recognized her work A Treatise of Stars (New Directions, 2020) and lifetime achievement. Berssenbrugge lives in northern New Mexico and New York City.