Ann Lauterbach was born in New York City in 1942. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Columbia University before moving to London for a period of time to teach and work as an editor. She returned to the US in 1974 and - as the Poetry Foundation puts it – “immersed herself in the art world, working as an art consultant and an assistant director to various art galleries”. She has published nine poetry collections as well as one book of essays (The Night Sky: Writings on the Poetics of Experience (2005)).
John Ashbery to who’s work her poetry has often been compared, said about Lauterbach’s writings: “Ann Lauterbach’s poetry goes straight to the elastic, infinite core of time.”
She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. For over 15 years, she has taught at Bard College and co-directed the Writing Division of the MFA program. She lives in Germantown, New York.
My below poem is inspired by Lauterbach’s “Platonic Subject” – while her poem reflects on Platonic Realism I decided to address the question whether we have free will.
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Waiting for the bubbles to rise in the hot water as I make my cup of tea.
My decision just another bubble, following the pull of nature’s law.
My steaming cup - entailed by the precise state of the universe
at a given time t0 together with all the laws of nature:
sperm, ovum, a zygote cell growing, lizards slithering across wet, sandy soil,
bubbles rising, steam gathering heavy on the inside of the lid.
At a given time, as expected, I watch it. Being determined.
Caught in a bubble or free to drift, defy the tale -