Gregg, Linda 1942- (Linda Alouise Gregg)
Gregg, Linda 1942- (Linda Alouise Gregg)
Born September 9, 1942, in Suffern, NY; daughter of Harold and Frances Gregg. Education: San Francisco State College (now University), B.A., 1967, M.A., 1972.
Writer, 1975—. Member of faculty at Pippa Passes College and Humboldt State College (now University), 1967; Indian Valley College, 1975-76; University of Tucson and Louisiana State University, 1981; College of Marin, Napa State College, and Lafayette College, all 1982; instructor in Iowa writing program, 1984; Columbia University, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, faculty; gives readings from her work at colleges, universities, and poetry centers.
First prize from Poetry Society of America, 1966 and 1967, for best poems; Frank Stanford Memorial Prize from Ironwood magazine, 1978, for poetry; National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Whiting Writer's Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, 1983; Sara Teasdale Award, 2003; PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, 2006, and multiple Pushcart prizes.
Too Bright to See, Graywolf (St. Paul, MN), 1981.
Eight Poems, Graywolf (St. Paul, MN), 1982.
Alma, Random House (New York, NY), 1985.
The Sacraments of Desire, Graywolf (St. Paul, MN), 1991.
Chosen by the Lion, Graywolf (St. Paul, MN), 1994.
Things and Flesh, Graywolf (St. Paul, MN), 1999.
Too Bright to See & Alma: Poems, Graywolf Press (St. Paul, MN), 2002.
In the Middle Distance: Poems, Graywolf Press (St. Paul, MN), 2006.
Also author of The Scent of White, 1984. Work represented in anthologies, including The American Poetry Anthology, Equinox, 1975; The Ardis Anthology of New American Poetry, Ardis, 1977; The Poets Choice, Tendril, 1980; Random Review, Random House, 1982; Women Poets of the World, Macmillan, 1983; Nineteen New American Poets of the Golden Gate, Harcourt, 1984. Contributor of poems to magazines, including American Poetry Review, New Yorker, Kenyon Review, Paris Review, Nation, Poetry East, Antaeus, Ironwood, Columbia, Iowa Review, and Pequod. Recorded Linda Gregg and Mary Jo Salter Reading Their Poems in 1992.
In her poetry, Linda Gregg is "prompted by terrible disappointments, romantic and otherwise," according to a reviewer for Publishers Weekly. The reviewer continued: "Gregg likes to insist on the divine nature of erotic love, even on the divinity of failed romance." In The Sacraments of Desire, Gregg writes poems set in such varied locales as Greece, New England, and Mexico. "Reattunement to the everyday world, transcendence through sex, and coming to terms with suffering are principal themes," noted Genevieve Stuttaford, in a review for Publishers Weekly.
Common themes infuse Gregg's poetry. From volume to volume, she maintains her fascination with classical symbols and subject matter, and strives to provide the reader with poems that are precise in their imagery and rhythms. In a review of Things and Flesh, William Logan, writing for New Criterion, remarked: "Gregg's poems are compact, self-consciously mysterious, living on the masochism of lost love and remembered pain, of shadowy forces that govern behavior and belief." David Orr, in a review for Poetry, noted: "The book's animating principle is sacrifice: by foregoing lushness and intricacy, Gregg hopes to attain the sort of authenticity that leaves a ringing stillness in the air." A contributor to Publishers Weekly wrote that this volume of Gregg's poetry "continues a project of formidable lyrical sincerity."
Gregg's 2006 collection In the Middle Distance: Poems, eschews the more classical imagery of her earlier work, instead shifting to the sparse landscape of the southwestern United States. Many of the poems in this volume are set in Marfa, Texas, and the nearby desert. She addresses the power of extremes, often using words and phrasing that convey opposite meanings, such as her use of "want" in the poem "Highway 90," where she refers simultaneously to that which is needed and that which is lacking. Dan Chiasson, in a review for Poetry, wrote regarding this double meaning: "There is a logic that connects those two senses, of course, and this book, Gregg's finest so far, explores that logic with real tenacity and intelligence." Louis McKee, writing for Library Journal, called Gregg "one of the more impressive, generous, and wise of today's front-line poets."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Library Journal, March 15, 2006, Louis McKee, review of In the Middle Distance: Poems, p. 75.
New Criterion, June, 2000, William Logan, review of Things and Flesh, p. 63.
Poetry, August, 2000, David Orr, review of Things and Flesh, p. 294; September, 2006, Dan Chiasson, review of In the Middle Distance, p. 449.
Publishers Weekly, December 20, 1985, John Mutter, review of Alma, p. 62; March 15, 1991, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of The Sacraments of Desire, p. 50; September 27, 1999, review of Things and Flesh, p. 100.