Lisel Mueller

(February 8, 1924)

Lisel Mueller
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an American poet.

She was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1924 and immigrated to America at the age of 15. Her father, Fritz Neumann, was a professor at Evansville College. Her mother died in 1953. "Though my family landed in the Midwest, we lived in urban or suburban environments," she once wrote. She and her husband, Paul Mueller (d. 2001) built a home in Lake Forest, Illinois in the 1960s, where they raised two daughters and lived for many years. Mueller currently resides in a retirement community in Chicago. Her poems are extremely accessible, yet intricate and layered. While at times whimsical and possessing a sly humor, there is an underlying sadness in much of her ... more »

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Comments about Lisel Mueller

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  • Rookie Dave Ross (5/10/2014 7:38:00 AM)

    Elegant, eloquent, sparse, lithe poetry.
    So much, with so little.
    Thank you, Lisel Mueller.

  • Rookie Susan Hill (5/9/2014 2:46:00 PM)

    I'd just finished writing a lyrical letter to my grandmother (dead for over thirty years) about how the world is becoming more transparent and mystical since I've grown older and am now a grandmother when I read Mueller's poem. Lisel Mueller captured the beauty of aging-able to see, finally, the gracefulness that seems to magically appear. That we could not see the world in such poetic beauty when we were young, I now understand. I refuse the operation to restore the sight of youth, as well.

  • Rookie - 0 Points Pam Crane (5/8/2014 11:49:00 PM)

    'Monet Refuses the Operation is so utterly beautiful, I want to share it with my Writers' Club. What a sensitive and expressive poet is Lisel!

  • Rookie David Harris (5/8/2014 8:29:00 PM)

    I loved Monet refuses the operation. It rings so many bells - bells I have only discovered in the decade or so since I retired and have time for reflection. It's the time when old age has led me to focus on what is really valuable in life, and imagination and dreams are right at the top of the list - up there with love.

  • Rookie William Goldman (5/8/2014 6:03:00 PM)

    Of Monet refuses the Operation, I like the line
    Doctor, if only you could see
    how heaven pulls earth into its arms

  • Rookie David H. Partington (5/8/2014 5:41:00 PM)

    Finally! A contemporary, or modern, poet whose work appeals to me. Thank you.

  • Rookie Patricia Lamb (8/24/2013 7:07:00 AM)

    It's my Birthday, it's Christmas, it's all the best days of the year in one- I am as excited as any child on that day- because I have just discovered your works Lisel- out with Neruda, in with Mueller, my new favourite poet- oh yum and yum and yum. Delicious- how have I not met you till now? Excuse me now- off to hunt for your books -such mouthwatering anticipation, such a feast to sit down to. Thankyou thankyou thankyou, Lady.

  • Rookie Harry Hopkins iii (5/10/2012 7:35:00 AM)

    Loved Monet Refuses The Operation...a wonderful enchanted walk in the heart and mind....: -)

  • Rookie Claudia Moline (5/8/2012 6:01:00 PM)

    Thanks for sending me one of her poems. I'm only discovering her today and mean to keep on reading her from now on. Loved what I've read so far. Subtle, moving, wise.High quality literature.

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Famous Poets
Best Poem of Lisel Mueller

Monet Refuses The Operation

Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction.
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: ...

Read the full of Monet Refuses The Operation

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