Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Master Letters: Poems” as Want to Read:
The Master Letters: Poems
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Master Letters: Poems

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  227 ratings  ·  21 reviews
The title of this richly textured book derives from two of the three mysterious letters left by Emily Dickinson--the ones addressed to "Dear Master." Lucie Brock-Boido has imagined a series of letters echoing devices found in Dickinson's own work.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published April 1st 1997 by Knopf (first published 1995)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Master Letters, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Master Letters

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 535)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I read some of these poems when in my freshman English class and it changed my life. Perhaps it was reading them in tandem with ED's Master Letters, perhaps it was the conversation of poetry and prose at work in these and ED's letters. Regardless, I was Awakened.

I finally purchased this on a whim in order to get free shipping on an Amazon order and goodness, am I glad I did. I have 5 more years of experience in reading and writing poetry and I'm a different person. These poems are not only incre
Jun 16, 2008 Tricia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone who has written a note
once again this book is blowing my mind.... every time i read it i am overjoyed with the possibilities of wordsmithery and at the same time awesomely humbled by LBB's craft, imagination and poeticninjaskills. case in point: in the poem "Unholy" there are sultry sea wenches "When I was young I sold slow French kisses as dry goods to sailors--as some girls made madmoney in more genteel ways, I had none of this." indeed, i say! and what's a saltwater poem without a sea captian "He is so less used t ...more
I have read through this book before, but never with the familiarity of Dickinson's letters--and not just the Master Letters, but a full selection of them. It helps. I appreciate more the voice that Brock-Broido uses here, and the way it widens the occasion of writing to someone referred to as "Master." What might be most difficult in reading the book is finding that space where Brock-Broido can stand independent of Dickinson, while still drawing from the Dickinsonian framework. Does the preface ...more
Sep 09, 2007 Justin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Midnight chemists

All about Carrowmore the lambs
Were blotched blue, belonging.

They were waiting for carnage or
Snuff. This is why they are born

To begin with, to end.
Ruminants do not frighten

At anything--gorge in the soil, butcher
Noise, the mere graze of predators.

All about Carrowmore
The rain quells for three days.

I remember how cold I was, the botched
Job of traveling. And just so.

Wherever I went I came with me.
She buried her bone barrette

In the ground's woolly shaft.
A tear of her hair, an old gift

To the
Amy Lillis
Amazing words

I really liked this collection. I was awed by the poem -as- letter. The epistolary poem. The author's word choices were stunning, but sometimes I questioned the need for such academic words. Some meaning was lost to me as I didn't understand her point. I will definitely revisit this collection, regardless.
Liz Cook
Eerie, magical, fantastic. I'm surprised to find myself saying this, but LBB is even more a favorite than Alice Notley now.
Judith Roney
Astounding, confusing, leaps, experimental, archaic--loved it for its hope presented here.
Ahhhhh I just love this book (collection) inspired by Dickinson's Master LEtters. Lucie Brock-Broido writes poetry that makes me tingle all over with envy.
Jan 18, 2014 Holly added it
Shelves: 2012-reads
Images that evoked foreign lands and slightly ominous sensibilities from the nineteenth century and earlier; surprising juxtapositions and metaphors so layered and strange I could only let my eyes hover over them, attempt to absorb, and then move on to the next poem -- I didn't understand most of this book! Only a couple of poems made my pulse quicken, but the one in particular was the last, "Am Moor," which began Am lean against. Am the heavy hour . . .
I re-read this book every few years, each time thinking I'll like it more. No matter how many times I read it, though, the only poem I really love is the last one in the book, "Am Moor." I feel like it's enough and all of the other poems in it are just superfluous in comparison. That one poem is such a masterpiece of beauty and fear and oddness. If I could create just one poem that comes to close to it, I'd feel like a real writer.
sarah louise
I heard Lucie Brock-Broido read and immediately bought this book to read (and be signed)...with no offense to that amazing poet and reader, the conceit of this particular project (an interaction with Dickinson's letters) I find a bit overwrought, and, I confess, I don't see a strong kinship with Dickinson's sensibilities. It is the house of some lovely, lovely poems. I am not convince the whole house is sturdily structured.
Sofia Samatar
A book of poems in conversation with Emily Dickinson's unsent letters (two of those letters begin "Dear Master"). Adventurous, playful, dark. Wordy--in a good way! It's always a good sign when you have to expand your definitions. Read Lucie Brock-Broido and expand your definition of "wordy"! Here, it means: loving words; trying them; reluctant to let them go.
This collection is based upon the Master Letters written by Emily Dickenson. I was eager to read them, but they left me cold, felt emotionless and academic. A disappointment.
A well-crafted collection and concept, but the poems struck me as v. cold, unrooted, and ornamental--the text rarely moved me. If you, like me, admire Dickinson but don't get great pleasure out of reading her work, you'll probably feel similarly unsure about this book.
Jul 27, 2007 Jenni rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: poets
It's okay. I've never been a huge Dickinson fan. I think those more familiar with her will enjoy this book. Another reason it was just "okay" was because most of my favorite lines in these poems were taken from letters, not even written by the poet. I find that a bit odd.
David Russomano
This collection is undoubtedly skillful, and I certainly underlined many bits or phrases, but overall, something about the density of the style turned me off a little. That could be my fault as a reader, or it could just be an aesthetic preference.
May 08, 2011 Aran rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
I just... can't get into it. And without the notes in the back, I have almost zero idea of what's going on. Didn't, couldn't finish.
It has really nice paper. God I hate poetry. Omg I fucking hate poetry.

It all sounds like poetry!!!
I love this. Every single poem does something for me. One of my favorites.
Michael Thorbjørn Feehly
"Am esurient, was the hungry form. / Am anatomy. / Was the bleating thing."
I could read this once a year and keep finding new things.
David marked it as to-read
Feb 28, 2015
A. Ch'arc
A. Ch'arc marked it as to-read
Feb 26, 2015
TJ marked it as to-read
Feb 23, 2015
Sarah marked it as to-read
Feb 21, 2015
Mary marked it as to-read
Feb 19, 2015
Thy marked it as to-read
Feb 16, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 17 18 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Interior with Sudden Joy: Poems
  • Louise in Love
  • Collected Poems
  • Blind Huber
  • What the Living Do: Poems
  • Elegy
  • Speak Low
  • The Country Between Us
  • My Alexandria
  • Chronic
  • Humanimal: A Project for Future Children
  • Song
  • Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form
  • My Emily Dickinson
  • Selected Poems
  • And Her Soul Out Of Nothing
  • My Life
  • One with Others: [a little book of her days]
Lucie Brock-Broido is the author of three collections of poetry. She has received many honors, including the Witter-Bynner prize of Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Harvard Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Award, the Harvard-Danforth Award for Distinction in Teaching, the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize from American Poetry Review, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a ...more
More about Lucie Brock-Broido...
A Hunger: Poems Trouble in Mind: Poems Stay, Illusion: Poems Soul Keeping Company: Selected Poems Untitled: Poems

Share This Book