The 19th-century English novelist George Eliot was reportedly no great beauty. One contemporary called the author of Middlemarch "exceedingly plain, with her aggressive jaw and her evasive blue eyes." Writer Henry James, who was an admirer, characterized her as "magnificently ugly, deliciously hideous."
These descriptions shaped "Ugglig," a poem by Kansas City poet and UMKC professor Michelle Boisseau selected for the 2016 edition of Best American Poetry. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky describes the annual anthology as a "vivid snapshot of what a distinguished poet finds exciting, fresh and memorable." Boisseau traveled to New York City for a reading last week, sponsored by series editor David Lehman and this year's guest editor, Edward Hirsch.
"Ugglig" was also published in Boisseau's fifth collection of poetry, Among the Gorgons (2016), which won the Tampa Review Prize for poetry.
Boisseau reads from her work on Thursday, September 29 at 7 p.m. at Pilgrim Chapel, 3801 Gillham Road, Kansas City, Missouri.