UC poet’s timely collection of verse inspires
Individuals are resilient, resourceful and will find ways to rebuild, says poet Rebecca Lindenberg
Rebecca Lindenberg is no stranger to isolation. As a poet, essayist, translator and literary editor, much of her writing, she says, is done in solitude, alone in a room at a desk, with very little idea of whether what she is working on will resonate with audiences and readers.
Ironically, her current project, a poetry collection with the lead poem titled “A Brief History of the Future Apocalypse,” is “perhaps feeling a bit too on-the-nose now,” she says, as the world deals with the ongoing devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Her project, however, says Lindenberg, assistant professor and creative writing director in the University of Cincinnati’s Department of English, is not about doom. “Rather, it’s about reminding ourselves that for many, the world has “ended” (personally, collectively) in many ways, many times, but we have as cultures, peoples and individuals, proven ourselves to be resilient and resourceful and found ways to recover and rebuild and persist.”
The title poem appears to be apropos to global events but was originally published in the Southern Indiana Review in 2018 and then later republished in the 2019 Best American Poetry anthology. The initial work on the collection was supported by a $55,000 grant from the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, which is a bequest from the estate of poet Amy Lowell and awarded to either one or two poets per year, nationwide. Many of the poems to be included in the book have been published in magazines and journals, but Lindenberg says she continues to work on contributions to the collection with the support of a $5,000 grant recently received from the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards for poetry.
“Awards like this don’t just provide funds for the actual work, but they also provide positive reinforcement — a way of the award committee saying, ‘Yes, it’s worth it. Keep at it.’”
“We look to the long memory of poetry to help us see hope and ways forward through even the darkest and most difficult of times, and for me this project is about the importance of both shared and private memories, and above all, about the written word, which is one of the ways our shared and personal memories persist and continue.”
Lindenberg is the author of “Love, an Index” as well as “The Logan Notebooks,” winner of the 2015 Utah Book Award. Her work also appears in many national magazines and literary journals including POETRY, The Believer, Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, American Poetry Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Seneca Review, The Iowa Review and many more. She is the recipient of several other grants and awards including a National Endowment for the Arts literature grant, a seven-month fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and elsewhere. In addition to her work as a writer, she is the poetry editor of the Cincinnati Review.
In April 2016, Lindenberg became the first visiting professor to receive the William C. Boyce Award for Outstanding Teaching, an achievement given to English teachers at UC and one earned through student nominations.
Featured image at top: College of Arts and Sciences/Jay Yocis/UC Creative + Brand
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