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Lisel Mueller

Born: February 8, 1924 in Hamburg, Germany
Died: February 21, 2020 in Lake Forest, Illinois

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Mueller moved to rural Lake Forest in 1960's.

Biography: Lisel Mueller fled Germany at the age of 15 and came to America with her family. She went on to become a Pulitzer prize-winning poet and translator. A graduate from the University of Evansville, Indiana in 1944, Mueller taught at the University of Chicago, Elmhurst College in Illinois, and Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont and Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. She also translated books and wrote literary criticism for the Chicago Daily News and Poetry magazine. Mueller was a founding member of the Poetry Center of Chicago.

  • The Private Life Lamont Poetry Selection, Academy of American Poets, 1975
  • The Need to Hold Still National Book Award for Poetry, 1981
  • Alive Together: New & Selected Poems Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 1997
  • Waving from Shore Carl Sandburg Award,1990
  • Other Awards Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, Poetry magazine, 2002; Order of Merit, Federal Republic of Germany, 2019

Primary Literary Genre(s): Poetry

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

Alive Together: New and Selected Poems
ISBN: 0807121274 OCLC: 34894406

Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge : 1996.

In a collection that represents over thirty-five years of her writing life, this distinguished poet explores a wide range of subjects, which include her cultural and family history and reflect her fascination with music and the discoveries offered by language. In fact, her book is a testament to the miraculous power of language to interpret and transform our world. It is a testament that invites readers to share her vision of experiences we all have in common: sorrow, tenderness, desire, the revelations of art, and mortality -

Dependencies: Poems
ISBN: 0807122750 OCLC: 38024062

Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge : 1998.

In this perceptive debut collection, originally published in 1965 and long out of print, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Lisel Mueller reveals the immense talent that would later bring her the highest literary honors. Now available for the first time in paperback, Dependencies affirms Mueller as a poet of control, precision, and feeling. Driven by the sense of life as process, these poems linger on the natural landmarks of human experience―those excursions into awareness that single out and illumine certain facets of growth, connection, creation, and decline. Mueller has commented that she does not “want to just put [her] poetry in a drawer.” The reissue of this affecting first book brings her earliest work out of the bureau and into the bookstores for all to enjoy.

Second Language: Poems
ISBN: 0807113360 OCLC: 13396494

Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge : 1986.

A collection of poems having to do with memory and metaphor, two forces that enable us to interpret our experience.

The Need to Hold Still: Poems
ISBN: 0807106690 OCLC: 5498132

Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge : 1980.

Lisel Mueller is the author of seven books of poetry, including Alive Together: New and Selected Poems, winner of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She has also received the Lamont Poetry Prize, and the Carl Sandburg Prize. She lives in Lake County, Illinois.

The Private Life: Poems
ISBN: 0807101826 OCLC: 2157875

Comprises forty-three poems celebrating the autonomy of the self, the mysteries of intimacy, growth, and feeling.

Voices from the Forest

Waving from Shore: Poems
ISBN: 0807115754 OCLC: 19815168

Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge : 1989.

Poems deal with language, music, memory, mortality, silence, the night, and the past.