Episode 49

Lisel Mueller, When I am Asked


September 12th, 2022

19 mins 57 secs

Season 5

Your Hosts

About this Episode

In this episode, we closely read Lisel Mueller's "When I am Asked" in order to better understand grief as a deep source of artistic expression. We look at language as a source of connection and hope, even in the midst of sorrow and solitude. With this poem about the making of poetry (an_ ars poetica_), we come to see how one artist turned to the intricacies of language in the face of a nature that seemed indifferent to her loss.

"When I Am Asked" appears in Alive Together: New and Selected Poems, published by Louisiana State University Press (1996). Thanks to LSU Press for granting us permission to read this poem on the podcast.

For the text of the poem, click here: "When I Am Asked"

Note: When out of copyright, we reproduce the text of the poem ourselves. When still in copyright, we link to the text of the poem elsewhere.

For more on Lisel Mueller, see the Poetry Foundation.