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1. A Village Life: Poems
2. Wild Iris
3. First Four Books Of Poems
4. Ararat (American Poetry Series)
5. Proofs and Theories
6. House on the Marshland
7. Meadowlands
8. Averno: Poems
9. Vita Nova
10. The Clerk's Tale: Poems
11. The Seven Ages
13. On Louise Gluck: Change What You
14. Green Squall
15. Firstborn (American Poetry Series)
16. October (Quarternote Chapbook
17. The Veiled Mirror and the Woman
18. The Cuckoo (Yale Series of Younger
19. The Triumph of Achilles
20. It Is Daylight (Yale Series of

1. A Village Life: Poems
by Louise Glück
Paperback: 80 Pages (2010-09-14)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$7.22
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374532435
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A Village Life, Louise Glück’s eleventh collection of poems, begins in the topography of a village, a Mediterranean world of no definite moment or place:


All the roads in the village unite at the fountain.

Avenue of Liberty, Avenue of the Acacia Trees—

The fountain rises at the center of the plaza;

on sunny days, rainbows in the piss of the cherub.

—from “tributaries”


Around the fountain are concentric circles of figures, organized by age and in degrees of distance: fields, a river, and, like the fountain’s opposite, a mountain. Human time superimposed on geologic time, all taken in at a glance, without any undue sensation of speed.

Glück has been known as a lyrical and dramatic poet; since Ararat, she has shaped her austere intensities into book-length sequences. Here, for the first time, she speaks as “the type of describing, supervising intelligence found in novels rather than poetry,” as Langdon Hammer has written of her long lines—expansive, fluent, and full—manifesting a calm omniscience. While Glück’s manner is novelistic, she focuses not on action but on pauses and intervals, moments of suspension (rather than suspense), in a dreamlike present tense in which poetic speculation and reflection are possible.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Village Life: Poems
A truly evocative, yet restrained series of images in the life of a village, one that the poet clearly cares for, even is within. The strongest
poem for me was/is "A Corridor", which speaks to the humanity and tragedy of alcoholism: the daily hope, and daily despair, deeply embedded in a family, and a village.

4-0 out of 5 stars Gluck continues her leading role in American poetry with this volume

Louise Gluck's A Village Life will continue Gluck's leading role in American poetry, although it presents a more narrative style than her earlier work. We are presented with a unnamed, vaguely Mediterranean setting in an unclear time. In other words, the focus here is on the people.

The theme is familiar, but Gluck's presentation is unique. Here people, you and old, are faced with the reality that life moves forward whether they are ready or not. Indeed, our own choices may move the direction slightly, but finding our ultimate destination is clearly something we do not control. While we expect this in the older people facing death, Gluck knows that such experiences are not lost on the youth.

In "Noon" we find the tale of a "boy and girl" heading out into the meadow where they talk and picnic.

The rest--how two people can lie down on the blanket--
they know about it but they're not ready for it.
They know people who've done it, as a kind of game or trial--
then they say, no, wrong time, I think I'll just keep being a child.

But your body doesn't listen. It knows everything know,
it says you're not a child, you haven't been a child for a long time.

As the poems move on we see that many of these youth listen to their bodies and find their life now laid out for them. Some go away and come back, but they only suffer more.

To my mind, you're better off if you stay;
that way, dreams don't damage you.

This theme of longing for what we cannot have continues with age.

My body, now that we will not be traveling together much longer
I begin to feel a new tenderness toward you, very raw and unfamiliar,
like what I remember of love when I was young--

While all this starts to sound like another aging poet becoming depressed over life, Gluck is not complaining. Instead, even as seen in the stanzas above she finds those moments in life to enjoy and sees change, no matter how much we resist it, as a normal part of life. These changes in our lives are inevitable, but not to be mourned. But she is intentional about recognizing where we are and living in the moment we have.

In "Walking at Night" we see an older woman who takes advantage of the fact that men no longer desire her to take her walks at night where "her eyes that used never to leave the ground/are free now to go where they like." She is rejuvenated by her age and situation and seeks nor needs any pity.

This joy is seen best in "Abundance," a glorious ode to spring which celebrates its newness while recognizing its transience. A boy touches a girl "so he walks home a man, with a man's hungers." The fruit ripens, "baskets and baskets from a single tree/so some rots every year/ and for a few weeks there's too much." The mice scamper through the harvest, the moon is full, "Nobody dies, nobody goes hungry" and the only sound is "the roar of the wheat." Gluck calls on us to revel in these moments without fearing what has preceded and what is to come.

Much of Gluck's intent is seen in three poems all entitled "Burning Leaves." As the leaves burn we are left with little, but the burning is important in creating room for the new. We are offered no promise of anything more.

How fast it all goes, how fast the smoke clears.
And where the pile of leaves was,
an emptiness that suddenly seems vast.

But while the fire is burning, it has life.

And then, for an hour or so, it's really animated
blazing away like something alive.
death making room for life

Gluck has created a volume that will benefit from repeated readings, and her easy, unhurried rhythm makes the return that much easier. She has the gift of all great poets in seeing the commonplace, and finding in it a celebration of life as it is. ... Read more

2. Wild Iris
by Louise Gluck
Paperback: 80 Pages (1994-01-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$5.22
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0880013346
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This collection of stunningly beautiful poems encompasses the natural, human, and spiritual realms, and is bound together by the universal themes of time and mortality. With clarity and sureness of craft, Gluck's poetry questions, explores, and finally celebrates the ordeal of being alive. 1992 National Book Award finalist. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Book of Poetry
The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck is a beautiful book of poetry that cannot be understood unless read as a whole. After reading and analyzing her work I am still not sure I understand the power and haunting messages hidden within her work. The Wild Iris is a dramatic monologue between the flowers in a garden, a higher entity, and the female human gardener. The three voices all contain the same "human" voice but with different tones ranging from commanding, to disappointed, to doubting. The voice of the higher being, or what many think of as God, is trying to help the gardeners see the beauty in the natural world and appreciate each other and the garden around them. The humans argue with the higher entity because either a flower in their garden dies or a fight rages within their family. The humans want the higher being to fix all their problems because they pray to him and worship him which is seen in the poem titles of "Matins" and "Vespers". The flowers are the observers of the humans and their behavior and relationship with the entity. The ending is a passionate realization between flower, human, and "God". The book of poems deals with themes of death, rebirth, time, change, and love. The book made me think and continues to make me think about death and what comes after death and if there really is a higher entity; or is it only our self conscious.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Journey
This book of poems brings notions of birth, death, and existence to life through nature imagery. The poems are easy to comprehend and deliver deep comfort beneath the moving poetic language! I strongly recommend this book to the reader who is curious about poetry as well as the experienced poet!

5-0 out of 5 stars If winter comes, can spring be far behind?
If I love Louise Glück, I adore *The Wild Iris*. There is not a single poem in this book that does not move me, speak to me, elicit some sort of positive response. I've loved Glück for quite awhile, and I came back to her recently in an attempt to recover from the events of a particularly devastating week. I sought new life in *Vita Nova* and found merely a hint of what *The Wild Iris* gave me today. I read this book quite awhile ago, and my second coming to it now revitalized me, left me feeling fresh and new and able to move on with my life. Thanks, Ms. Glück.

The book is a poetic sequence, epitomizes the idea of a sequence, in fact. That is, this is not a novel-in-verse, like the stupendous, magnificent, unbelievable *Autobiography of Red* by Anne Carson. There is no real plot, no real characters, no real setting. (I emphasize the adjective 'real,' because there is a plot and a setting and there are characters, but not in the traditional sense.) Rather, the poems speak to each other, they converse. Literally, as the book takes the form of two parallel discourses: 1) between a female gardener and God and 2) between plants and the female gardener or, more generally, humanity. It is no mistake that the book abounds with flowers and gardens and God: the creation myth of Adam and Eve in the garden acts a sort of driving force behind the entire book, although the Paradise lost is not necessarily a physical location or even a proximity to any one particular deity. The plot, as far as there is a plot, chronicles disillusionment, frustration, despair, and yes, hope. Most interestingly, every single one of the characters -- the flowers, the gardener, and God itself -- feel the emotions I've listed, and this anthropomorphizing of everything is yet another thread that weaves its way through the poems, connecting them and braiding them into the Pulitzer-prize winning sequence that they are.

The book, however, is more than the sum of its parts: each poem, individually, is its own work of art, and if the poetry were subordinated to the book, most of Glück's genius would be lost. The tone of the poems is unique: distant yet not detached, chilled yet not cold. Critics have claimed that Glück is neither an intellectual poet (à la Eliot) or a Confessional poet (à la Plath) but somewhere in between, and I'd have to agree. Her poems lack the in-the-moment emotional tantrums of things like "Lady Lazarus" or "Daddy," but they are not the universalized ice sculptures of *The Waste-land*. They are not so easily understood (at least superficially) as a Robert Lowell poem -- specifically with *The Wild Iris*, for instance, a bit of background on some of the flowers that speak is required to unlock the poems -- and yet they are not as inscrutable as something Stevens or Eliot wrote earlier in the century. Many of the poems have the characteristic irony with which Glück captured my heart long ago, an almost bitter and yet still amused tinge of sarcasm that makes me crack a smile despite the usually negative thoughts it conveys. Although she writes in unrhymed free verse, Glück is a master of the line, and this book has some of the most powerful single lines I have read in contemporary poetry: "in the raw wind of the new world"; "of enduring? Blaze of the red cheek, glory"; "this one summer we have entered eternity."

An amazing, life-changing book that answers the age-old adage "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?" with a resounding, polyphonic YES.

5-0 out of 5 stars Psalms from the Garden
Louise Glück explores the complex relationship between God, humans, and the natural world with startling emotional depth in The Wild Iris, her sixth collection. Far from the strained and occasionally awkward lines and language of her previous books, these poems strive for and usually master an elegant lyricism in the imagined voices of wildflowers; of God manifest in wind, light, and changing seasons; and of a woman who struggles to find evidence of God while laboring in a garden in a cold climate. In poems most often titled "Matins" and "Vespers," the human voice expresses fear, frustration, and love, while "checking / each clump for the symbolic / leaf" in the garden and entertaining the apprehension that God, the addressed "you" of these poems, "exist[s] / exclusively in warmer climates...." Plants, most often wildflowers, counter these prayers, presenting a view more eternal for the accelerated brevity of their lives. Glück's gift in these poems is a capacity for lyric eruption coupled with emotional restraint. The voices are passionate but never hysterical; plants and God chide humans, as in the poem above, for their apparently willful ignorance, but the criticism never reads as self-pity. These poems grapple honestly and successfully with questions of ultimate reality, not sheering away from critical self-assessment nor veering into a merely postured piety. They sing and praise and renew with successive readings.

5-0 out of 5 stars Will I remember these lines?
The poetry we most love is the poetry we want to remember.
Reading here the title poem 'Wild Iris ' and another poem of the collection 'Red Poppy' I try to understand and feel if these lines will be read through once, or will call me back to them again.
I don't know.
They seem clear and strong in feeling. But they also seem abstract and distant.
They tell of a mind, a soul, a consciousness and even one which is shattered but I am not sure that their clear presentation will truly break the icy- sea within me.
These lines are lines of true poetry, but are they poetry enough to bring me back to them again and again? ... Read more

3. First Four Books Of Poems
by Louise Gluck
Paperback: 240 Pages (1990-02-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0880014776
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

The First Four Books of Poems collects the early work that established Louise Gluck as one of America's most original and important poets. Honored with the Pulitzer Prize for The WildIris, Gluck was celebrated early in her career for her fierce, austerely beautiful voice. InFirstborn, The House on MarshlandWand, Descending Figure, and The Triumph of Achilles, which wonthe National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, we see the conscious progression of apoet who speaks with blade-like accuracy and stirring depth.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars Inked
The book had a blotch of purple ink on the bottom of nearly every page; I sent it back and asked for a book that wasn't damaged, but obviously that never happened.

5-0 out of 5 stars Early Gluck
This volume collects Louise Gluck's first four books: Firstborn (1968), The House on Marshland (1975), Descending Figure (1980), and The Triumph of Achilles (1985).

If you're not familiar with Gluck, you're in for a wild ride. Her poems stare darkness in the face. They're unflinching. Consider, for example, the opening lines of "The Drowned Children," the opening poem from Descending Figure:

"You see, they have no judgment. / So it is natural that they should drown, / first the ice taking them in / and then, all winter, their wool scarves / floating behind them as they sink / until at last they are quiet. / And the pond lifts them in its manifold dark arms."

3-0 out of 5 stars False Advertising?
Take note: this is not actually the first four books of poems, but the first four books of poetry BY LOUISE GLUCK. It's a finicky distinction, but an important one when you think about it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Evolution of the contemporary woman
Self-expression is perhaps the only cure for the great social gag that once bound women's creativity. Female poets are essentially empowering themselves through language; society no longer expects them to be simply silent and useful. In particular, Louise Gluck deals with many of the issues facing the contemporary woman as an individual. Her work addresses the feminine identity as it relates to independence and personal fulfillment. The stark simplicity of her language underscores the depth and complexity of her subjects with a sense of tight control. Her writing is constantly evolving; the poems as a body of work are as meaningful when taken together as each is standing alone.Beginning with tentative exploration in her early work -marked by themes of loss and emptiness - Gluck's poetry moves towards a denouement of fierce self-actualization, just as in modern culture women make their way towards triumphant fulfillment. In this collection of her first four books, one may see the movement of a voice from submissive flesh forward into exclamatory liberation.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful, Elegant Work of Art
I bought this book for my intermediate poetry class, and although I have not yet finished reading through all of it, I have placed it high on my list of favorites.Each of Gluck's poems is something to be savored - you can feel the words on your tongue, and the pictures she provides are so real that you almost wish her memories and images were your own.Only Gluck can describe something as heart-wrenching as a fickle lover as waspishly and deliciously as she does, ending that particular poem with the words "You pimp."Nor can the reader ignore her own delicate, luminous poem "The Nativity", which expresses her own thoughts on the birth of Christ.The majority of Gluck's poetry is short and the lines simple; however, the images triggered by the words and what she means to convey is of a far greater volume.As you read through this fantastic collection, you'll find that many of Gluck's images, ideas, glories and frustrations are those of every person.The way she expresses herself leaves you bowed over at each poem's end, and you always want to read ahead to see what else she will present you with.These poems are Gluck's gift to the world, and the poetry unfolds before the reader as serenly as a flower unfolds to the sun.So check it out, you might really enjoy and be uplifted by what you read! ... Read more

4. Ararat (American Poetry Series)
by Louise Gluck
Paperback: 68 Pages (1992-06-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$1.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 088001248X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
A ruthlessly probing family portrait in verse, Gluck's sixth poetry collection confronts, with devastating irony, her father's hollow life and her mother's inability to express emotion. This might seem like a daughter's belated rebellion, except that these fierce, rock-strong, deeply felt lyrics are steeled by love and understanding.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful Sorrow
Gluck is an amazing poet and one of the wonders of her work is that it is meant to be read like a book: front to back. This book describes her loss of her father and sister and how she has dealt with this through life, with her mother and her son. An amazing work that every poem sticks and is valuable to the collection. My favorite is Fantasy-- which is such an in tune description on loss, describing how one might describe death when they were at a loss for words.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read
After a friend of mine recommended Gluck's poetry to me, I bought Ararat at the local bookstore and it sat on my shelf for months.Finally, when I found the time, I sat down and read it.I thought about it.And then I read it again.It is a phenomenal book.What I especially enjoy is Gluck's approach to writing a complete sequence of poems, which she then encloses in a "book."Story or myth, call it what you will--behind these poems is a disciplined passion, a sort of genius that I appreciate.READ IT, I promise you won't be sorry.

5-0 out of 5 stars howI discovered my favorite poet on this planet
Through "ARARAT" I discovered Louise Glück,my most favorite living poet on this planet.Every book she created is deep,elegant and mystifying.

5-0 out of 5 stars Her Best Work
Probably the most influential book of poetry published in the language in the last two decades; solidified (and spawned a generation of mimics of) what is now widely recognized as The Gluck Style: spare, unblinking but notunflinching, tough, mournful, deceptively simple.The book, rightfully,that all her other books (except The Wild Iris) may be judged."Longago I was wounded.." it begins.Gluck turns away from alluding to aspecific mythology (though she runs back to it in Meadowlands and VitaNova; though, in fact, Ararat itself is a Jewish myth) to read themythology of domesticity: her father the hero, her sister the Fury, hermother like Dido, herself like Euridice, whose only hope of escaping is toturn completely away.But Gluck was "born to a vocation," tobear witness to the great and ordinary mysteries, the death of her father,the death of a sister, the ache and hunger repeated infinitely within herdrama of four, the view of her family that will reduce her to ashes in theact of witnessing."Like Adam, I was the firstborn.Believe me, younever heal.You never forget the ache in your side where something wastaken to make another person."She accomplishes all: poetry, drama,narrative.And somehow she escapes the cheap glamour of confessionalpoetry.These are painfully honest pieces that she somehow also keeps atarm's length, to examine like an artifact.By all means, read this book. The language and imagery and syntax are easy, unintimidating, and then yourealize that she has laid out quite plainly the way people love and harborand reject one another."Long ago, I was wounded.I thought thatpain meant I was not loved.It meant I loved." ... Read more

5. Proofs and Theories
by Louise Gluck
Paperback: 150 Pages (1999-08-26)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$4.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0880014423
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Winner of the 1993 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Non-Fiction, Proofs and Theories is an illuminating collection of essays by Louise Glück, whose most recent book of poems, The Wild Iris, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Glück brings to her prose the same precision of language, the same incisiveness and insight that distinguish her poetry. The force of her thought is evident everywhere in these essays, from her explorations of other poets' work to her skeptical contemplation of current literary critical notions such as "sincerety" and "courage." Here also are Glück's revealing reflections on her own education and life as a poet, and a tribute to her teacher and mentor, Stanley Kunitz. Proofs and Theories is the testament of a major poet.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

1-0 out of 5 stars don't buy this book
The author of the book entitled Proofs & Theories is an excellent poet; her best poems are simple, clear, and direct. The Wild Iris is a masterpiece. But she is no prose writer. The essays in Proofs & Theories are filled with high-falutin' phrases and convuluted thoughts. Her syntax is confusing, to say the least. I bought this book thinking it would be great, but was very disappointed in it. I read no insights into the craft of writing poetry; I simply ended up with a headache. Don't waste your money on this book. Whomever told this woman that she could write prose was wrong. Her publisher should have taken a second look. I'd like to have my money back.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Necessary Medicine
Taken in sum, Proofs & Theories serves as a place to begin assessing the shortfalls and liabilities of contemporary poetry. She explores such pernicious problems as the emphasis on "sincerity" as opposed to authenticity, the valorizing of obsession as "courage" in the critical lexicon, the promulgation of the subjective, and, as she writes in "Invitation and Exclusion," "the proprietary obsessiveness of much contemporary poetry which stakes out territorial claims based on personal history: my father, my pain, my persistent memory." Of these, the notion of "sincerity," of telling the truth--or at least seeming to--perhaps most pervades discussion of contemporary poetry; one strives to affect a sincere tone, to modulate one's voice such that the sincerity cannot be called into question. In "Against Sincerity," Glück notes the "gap between truth and actuality" and argues, "The artist's task...involves the transformation of the actual to the true." And, further, that "the ability to achieve such transformations...depends on conscious willingness to distinguish truth from honesty or sincerity." Equally "unnerv[ing]" is "the thought that authenticity, in the poem, is not produced by sincerity." Here, she posits a careful distinction; that which leaves the after-taste of authenticity--that which strikes us as credible, reliable, as true--may not be voiced in the saccharine tones of excessive sincerity.

5-0 out of 5 stars brilliant poet, brilliant brilliant essayist
Louise Gluck is a fantastic unique thinker & these essays on poetry are always luminously brilliant.Her thoughts on poetry are great to read for anyone with serious interest in poetry & the experience of being a writer.

4-0 out of 5 stars Education of the Prose Writer:Lessons from Louise Glück
"The fundamental experience of the writer is helplessness," declares Louise Glück in the opening sentence of the first essay in _Proofs & Theories_.Although the type of helplessness Glück proceeds to describe differs from the sense of weakness with which a prose writer might attempt to review a book of poetry, the words nonetheless create a bridge between the poet-essayist and her reader.They ease the tension, the anxiety.The education begins.

Glück's essays remind the prose writer that all "reviews" may share certain features.Simple titles that target the subject ("On T.S. Eliot; "On Stanley Kunitz") work well; so, too, may titles that promise treatment of an elusive yet alluring theme:("The Forbidden"; "Invitation and Exclusion").On the whole, _Proofs & Theories_ also supports the notion that a review need not be long.Glück notes that most of her poet-contemporaries "are interested in length:they want to write long lines, long stanzas, long poems"; one might add that a number of literary reviewers are interested in writing long reviews, and such pieces are not always necessary.Finally, the essays convey a general impression that the _substance_ of a piece of literature is equally important (if not more so) than its _style_.

This last point is crucial for a prose writer approaching the task of reviewing poetry.Louise Glück's essays reveal preoccupations shared by prose writers--by this prose writer, anyway.Themes.Tone.Voice.It's perfectly all right, _Proofs & Theories_ tells the prose writer, to discuss poetry in these terms.One need not try to dazzle at first meeting with "metonymy" and "synecdoche," with "blank verse" and "internal rhyme."So don't be scared off.

It would, therefore, be acceptable to write an essay titled "On Louise Glück."To choose a theme from _Meadowlands_ or another of Glück's own works, to write about.Or to focus on the poet's voice in selected poems from one of her collections.

It might even be permissible to bring one's own experience of reading into the review.Thus Glück might learn of the moments when _she_ affected a reader, perhaps not to the extent that her own "encounter with [Wallace] Stevens was shattering."But she would see that her poet's presence as "human voice...a companion spirit" made a difference, in the moment of reading, and beyond.

And she would realize, if she doesn't already, that _Proofs & Theories_ provides an excellent education for anyone--prose writer or poet--seeking lessons into the craft of literary reviewing.

5-0 out of 5 stars interesting
Louise Gluck is a master poet, & it's great to be able to read such a straightforward explanation of her thoughts on some of the art. ... Read more

6. House on the Marshland
by Louise Gluck
 Paperback: 42 Pages (1984-04-30)
list price: US$9.95
Isbn: 0912946199
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pre-AraratPromising Potentiality
She has reached her utmost maturity with the "Ararat".This early book signals emergence of a philosophical master voice:deep and gripping. ... Read more

7. Meadowlands
by Louise Gluck
Paperback: 80 Pages (1997-05-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$7.67
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0880015063
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

In an astonishing book-length sequence, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Gluck interweaves the dissolution of a contemporary marriage with the story of The Odyssey. Here is Penelope stubbornly weaving, elevating the act of waiting into an act of will; here, too, is a worldly Circe, a divided Odysseus, and a shrewd adolescent Telemachus. Through these classical figures, Meadowlands explores such timeless themes as the endless negotiation of family life, the cruelty that intimacy enables, and the frustrating trivia of the everyday. Gluck discovers in contemporary life the same quandary that lies at the heart of The Odyssey: the "unanswerable/affliction of the human heart: how to divide/the world's beauty into acceptable/and unacceptable loves."

Amazon.com Review
Louise Gluck sows the fertile subject ground of marital discord inharvesting this crop of gems. The poems zing back and forth as the versesalternate between man and woman. "Flaubert had morefriends and Flaubert was a recluse" says he, followed by her response,"Flaubert was crazy; he lived with his mother," In one scene theyargue over dead French writers; later they discuss football. Yet Gluck's workis more than a series of barbs. She writes in the nuances and language of amarriage, laid out against the voices of Odysseus and Penelope. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars Resonant, Indelible Collection of Deceptively Simple Poems
Meadowlands cracks open modern (and ancient) myths surrounding family life, marriage, and male/female relationships via mythic and candidly tales full of opposing personalities, repeated disagreements, and hard-earned insights. The pleasure, if you can call it that, can be found amidst the pain: readers are reminded that they are not alone in their own moments of grief or despair--and this reviewer at least thinks there's something to be said for that.

These unsectioned poems are uniformly neat, short, stylistically similar and best appreciated as a series since the veiled references and deeper implications regarding Glück's own marriage in poems like "Circe's Torment" and "Parable of the Swans" can't help but rise to the surface when paired alongside poems like "The Dream" and "Meadowlands (1, 2, 3)," which show Glück's marriage and family life on the brink of collapse.

In short,Meadowlands resonates; Glück's poems are indelible. Many touched me deeply, and poems such as "Siren" and "Midnight" do a better job than my own splanchnic nerves in terms of feeling. But don't look to Meadowlands for epiphany; it's more a remembering of things once known but long since forgotten. Poems like "Marina" make me feel understood: "My heart was a stone wall/you broke through anyway (30), and often my response was visceral. Ultimately, Meadowlands reminds me of Glück's own words--words that impart upon us the importance the role of reader has in the life of a poem/poet: When you read anything worth remembering, you liberate a human voice; you release into the world again a companion spirit" (Glück, Proofs). If you're open to it, perhaps you'll find a companion spirit in Meadowlands like I do each time I re-read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Resonant, Indelible Collection of Deceptively Simple Poems
Meadowlands is a tight collection of accessible poems featuring candid conversations, provocative commentaries, opposing perspectives, sobering parables and poignant vignettes drawn from Glück's own life as well as guest appearances by Homer's Odysseus, Penelope, and Telemachus. These unsectioned poems are uniformly neat, short, stylistically similar and best appreciated as a series since the veiled references and deeper implications regarding Glück's own marriage in poems like "Circe's Torment" and "Parable of the Swans" can't help but rise to the surface when paired alongside poems like "The Dream" and "Meadowlands (1, 2, 3)," which show Glück's marriage and family life on the brink of collapse. The drawback to Meadowlands is that despite well timed infusions of levity readers end up on a distressing modern odyssey of sorts--a ride too often weighed down by moments of private suffering made public. Unfortunately, it's a ride many of us 1.) are all too familiar with, and 2.) prefer to avoid, especially during playtime.

Meadowlands provides "teachable moments" while cracking open modern (and ancient) myths surrounding family life, marriage, and male/female relationships via mythic and candidly tales full of opposing personalities, repeated disagreements, and hard-earned insights. The pleasure, if you can call it that, can be found amidst the pain: readers are reminded that they are not alone in their own moments of grief or despair--and this reviewer at least thinks there's something to be said for that.

However, despite well-timed infusions of humor, there's little joy to be found except for Schadenfreude or the tempered joy that comes from reading something that makes you feel less alone with your own pain. Even poems that start out with hopeful lines like "Otis," which begins with "A beautiful morning" waste no time turning somber: "nothing/died in the night" (Glück 57); such poems make me wonder about Glück's definition of beauty and happiness.

In the end, though, Meadowlands resonates; Glück's poems are indelible. Many touched me deeply, and poems such as "Siren" and "Midnight" do a better job than my own splanchnic nerves in terms of feeling. But don't look to Meadowlands for epiphany; it's more a remembering of things once known but long since forgotten. Poems like "Marina" make me feel understood: "My heart was a stone wall/you broke through anyway (30), and often my response was visceral. Ultimately, Meadowlands reminds me of Glück's own words--words that impart upon us the importance the role of reader has in the life of a poem/poet: When you read anything worth remembering, you liberate a human voice; you release into the world again a companion spirit" (Glück, Proofs). If you're open to it, perhaps you'll find a companion spirit in Meadowlands like I do each time I re-read it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Complex, dry, witty, and biting
This is one of the best, if not the best, of Gluck's books so far (though I have not yet read Averno.) Gluck's understated sense of humor pervades the collection, which focuses on a contemporary couple's disintegrating relationship and the relationship between Odysseus, Penelope, and Telemachus. The sharp bite of anger, bitterness, and confusion infuse the most personal poems, but again, a turn of wit often lifts the poem by the end. Emotionally resonant and deceptively simple, this collection bears frequent re-reading. As a poet, I have studied the structure of the book as a classic example of entwined themed poems. My favorite poems are in the voice of Circe, who states at the end of one poem: "If I wanted only to hold you,/ I could hold you prisoner." And the poem "Midnight," with the lines: " is this the way the heart/ behaves when it grieves: it wants to be/ alone with the garbage?"

4-0 out of 5 stars Review of Meadowlands
Meadowlands, by Louise Gluck speak for characters whose voice was not heard as much in the novel the Odyssey. The book has poems that seem to speak for three characters, Penelope Circe, and Telemachus. The book deals with many-life long experiences from family life to love life. Gluck uses characters from the Odyssey to tell her stories through her poems. Many of her poems deal with love and its good times and the bad times. The poems in Meadowlands are sincere and have almost the same theme. They all are about relationships and the hardships that come with them. A recurring theme that seems to be in her poems is being in an abusive relationship where both people aren't happy. Meadowland is a book that is easy to relate to because many people may have shared the same experiences as the characters in the book. The poems in the book seem to start off with a happy couple then as the reader reads on, he or she learns of problems that the characters encounter. Some of the many issues that can be read in this book are jealousy, infidelity and many common difficulties associated with relationships. All those are general issues that many people have to deal with when being in a relationship. Louise Gluck's book Meadowlands is entertaining and interesting.

4-0 out of 5 stars This is what you forgot to write about, Homer.
Few poets would ever compare themselves to Homer, or even compare their work to his. Doing so would create an unbelievable amount of pressure on said poet: their poem(s) in question would have to be just as good as his work, and puritans would be very hard to convince.

Louise Glück adventures into this territory and comes out unscathed. Louise is no first timer to poetry collections, she knows what she's doing and it shows. Many poems in this book are about her and her husband, while others are about the characters in Homer's The Odyssey. Having these two different kinds of poems in the book at different times inflicts a great compare/contrast attitude to the reader. Not only do the inclusions of The Odyssey characters give an interesting comparison, it also elaborates on secondary characters in the book that Homer did not develop deeply. Characters like Telemachus, Odysseus' son, have their own poems with their own views on the situations going on.

Glück's writing style is somewhat simple. For people who don't normally read poetry, you usually will have to sit with two books when reading: the book, and a dictionary. However, the down-to-earth straightforward style in Meadowlands has it so that you can just sit comfortably with just the poem book itself, leaving the heavy dictionary out of the picture. Some will say that this brings the book down, that the fact that it's so simple takes away from the feeling of the book. This is most certainly not true. The way Glück describes the couple and how they interact with each other can be fairly shocking at times. One such poem, "Heart's Desire," has the two discussing a party idea. The woman says she's only going to invite people who can cook, and "all my old lovers."

Glück's book shows the truth of marriages, how they really are and how people start to really act toward one another when they've been together so long. This book of poems is worth the read for anyone interested in The Odyssey, marriages that are on the rocks, or anyone who can appreciate good, simple poetry. ... Read more

8. Averno: Poems
by Louise Gluck
Paperback: 96 Pages (2007-02-06)
list price: US$12.00 -- used & new: US$5.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B003JTHU34
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

Averno is a small crater lake in southern Italy, regarded by the ancient Romans as the entrance to the underworld. That place gives its name to Louise Glück’s tenth collection: in a landscape turned irretrievably to winter, it is a gate or passageway that invites traffic between worlds while at the same time resisting their reconciliation. Averno is an extended lamentation, its long, restless poems no less spellbinding for being without conventional resoltution or consolation, no less ravishing for being savage, grief-stricken. What Averno provides is not a map to a point of arrival or departure, but a diagram of where we are, the harrowing, enduring present.
Louise Glück has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Bollingen Prize, and is the former Poet Laureate of the United States. She teaches at Yale University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
A National Book Award Finalist
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Winner of the Ambassador Book Award
Averno is a small crater lake in southern Italy, regarded by the ancient Romans as the entrance to the underworld. That place gives its name to Louise Glück's eleventh collection: in a landscape turned irretrievably to winter, it is the only source of heat and light, a gate or passageway that invites traffic between worlds while at the same time opposing their reconciliation. Averno is an extended lamentation, its long, restless poems no less spellbinding for being without plot or hope, no less ravishing for being savage, grief-stricken. What Averno provides is not a map to a point of arrival or departure, but a diagram of where we are, the harrowing, enduring presence, in which the ecstatic and the inevitable are irrevocably fused.
"Averno may be her masterpiece. Certainly it demonstrates that she is writing at the peak of her powers . . . The 18 poems in Averno, rich and resonant—with intricately linked imagery, overlapping themes, recurring characters—form a unified collection, but one in which each part never fails to speak for the whole."—Nicholas Christopher, The New York Times Book Review
"Lago D'Averno (Avernus in Latin) is a volcanic crater lake, 10 miles west of Naples . . . The formal entrance of to the underworld was in a nearby cave . . . In The Aeneid, Virgil catalogs some of the monsters (Gorgons, Harpies, the Chimera) and other fearsome figures gathered there: Grief, Disease, and Discord, all of whom, in various guises, makes appearances in Louise Glück's brilliant new collection, Averno. Before and after Virgil, a long line of poets, epic and lyric, have chronicled perilous journeys to the underworld, traveling deeply to bring back its true booty—not Hades' gems, but the darkly glittered poems inspired by his queen, Persephone. Glück has earned a place in that distinguished company of chthonic poets . . . Averno may be her masterpiece. Certainly it demonstrates that she is writing at the peak of her powers . . . The 18 poems in Averno, rich and resonant—with intricately linked imagery, overlapping themes, recurring characters—form a unified collection, but one in which each part never fails to speak for the whole."—Nicholas Christopher, The New York Times Book Review
"Few poets can shoulder the weight of myth the way Glück does . . . The poems brilliantly display a poet's insight, a mother's warmth, and a mortal's empathy. There is wry humor, too, and, amid much that is dark, there are fragments of hope."—The New Yorker
"The true subject of Averno . . . is the soul's journey. As for her poetry, it continues to surprise and be beautiful."—Charles Simic, New York Review of Books
"Glück, whose numerous books of poetry include the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Wild Iris, writes with an aching precision in these spare and elegant pieces."—Elizabeth Hoover, Los Angeles Book Review
"A poet of taut intensities, [Glück] walks a high-wire between the oracular and everyday, the absolute and the ephemeral . . . She interrogates the world and finds it inadequate to the mind; and like the Romantics at their most skeptical and chastened, she treats myths not as consolations but as probes for thought . . . Glück's death-haunted poems are electrically alive [and] often stationed in interzones or on thresholds . . . The fusion of ancient and modern is haunting and exhilarating. 'Make it new,' Ezra Pound said. She has."—Maureen N. McLane, The Washington Post Book World
"Averno feels made from experience, as though Glück had gone down to the underworld herself to confirm what we all know to be true."—John Freeman, The Phoenix
“In an age of facts, it’s easy to lose touch with the art of invention. In Gluck’s poetry, you can almost hear the sound of language cascading, trying to find a place in the world. At times, it is as though the myths were reinventing language itself. That it is done with such simplicity, and so delicately, is what makes her work so vital.”—Dionisio Martinez, The Miami Herald

“Glück amazes by fulfilling a command that must become more ironic every time it gets repeated . . . In ‘Prism,’ the speaker catalogues the stock fall-in-love-get-married story of her girlhood, explaining how ‘Time was experienced / less as narrative then ritual. / What was repeated has weight.’ This describes the movement of Averno itself; despite a skepticism about easy repetition, the work circles upon itself; despite a skepticism about easy repetition, the work circles upon itself in a kind of lyrical reinvention of ritual reminiscent of H.D., whose poetry haunts Averno’s crisp classicism and its exploration of personal trauma, especially in terms of gender, female sexuality and male power . . . Repetition with a difference defines not only the collection’s lyrical process but its overall structure: Averno presents a series of alternative tellings and analyses of the Persephone myth situated like pillars throughout. The other poems weave among these stately considerations with their own call and response about the problems the myth sets in motion . . . Glück masterfully establishes and ponders equations between her key terms: death, sex, girlhood, hell . . . Glück’s clean, syntactically and conceptually discrete stanzas seem suspended in, separated by, time, as though between stanzas the reader sleeps and awakens into the new stanzas with a sense of bewildered semi-coherence, emerging into a different section of conversation, a different psychological or analytical angle or fragment.”—Christopher Matthews, Shenandoah

"Louise Glück's. . . 10th book of verse is a haunting sequence blending the archetypal and mythic with the obliquely personal. Its strongest effects emanate from its meditations on mother-daughter dynamics and the guilty, deathlike loss of girlhood."—Ron Smith, Richmond Times Dispatch
"Poet laureate Glück's new work is not just heartbreaking, playful, mythical, and lyric poetry of the highest order—it is visionary literature. The title poem (particularly its first section) is one of the best pieces Glück—or, for that matter, anyone writing in English today—has produced; it will break your heart every time you read it but also affirm you in the toughest moments. Hundreds of teachers across the country (including this reviewer) will be sharing it with their students. Few American authors have written eloquently about old age, but Glück, now in her sixties, does a splendid job ('I can finally say/ long ago; it gives me considerable pleasure'), investigating matters of the soul ('I put the book aside. What is a soul?') as it finds itself within an increasingly frail body and yet remains unrepentant ('You die when your spirit dies./ Otherwise you live'). As with almost all of Glück's recent collections, this book is a single sequence, where the poems work together making a whole: an aging soul's lyrical book of days. Once again, the author is obsessed with myth: this time she focuses on Persephone and the landscape of Averno, a small crater lake that the ancient Romans saw as the entrance to the underworld. But what makes this new collection so special is that its most successful poems combine two very different elements of her previous collections—the playful tone of Meadowlands and the illuminating moments of Vita Nova—that rarely coexist in poetry and have never before come together as smoothly and effortlessly in Glück's own work as they do here. When Glück takes a broader look, the scope can be truly epical; when she looks inward you can sometimes hear your own voice. And her tenderness is breathtaking ('to hear the quiet breathing that says/ I am alive, that means also /you are alive, because you hear me'). Strongly recommended for all poetry collections."—Ilya Kaminsky, Library Journal
"In a collection as good as her Pulitzer Prize-winning The Wild Iris, Glück gives the Persephone myth a staggering new meaning, casting that forlorn daughter as a sou...
... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Gluck slips a few notches.
Louise Gluck, Averno Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2006)

I've never been entirely sure what to think of the work of Louise Gluck; Averno, however, has certainly tipped the balance into the "dislike" bucket. When she is good, she is very, very good; when she is bad, however, you get stuff like this:

"'You girls,' my mother said, 'should marry
someone like your father.'

That was one remark. Another was,
'There is no one like your father.'"

As pithy as the wisdom may be, the poetry is entirely absent. I'd expect this sort of thing in a run-of-the-mill memoir, not in a volume from a Pulitzer Prize-winner. On the other hand, as I said, when she's good, etc. Given a strong image and a slight difference in the way she works with repetition, she can craft some really great stuff:

"You get on a train, you disappear.
You write your name on the window, you disappear.

There are places like this everywhere,
places you enter as a young girl,
from which you never return."

I've added and subtracted a star from my rating of this book at least twenty times as I've mulled over how to review it, usually depending on which poem I happen to be contemplating at the time. While it's obviously a must for Gluck fans, those who are knew to her work should probably start somewhere else (the Pulitzer-winning The Wild Iris or her best [IMO] book, The House on Marshland). ***

5-0 out of 5 stars Evocative and Earthly
Louise Gluck remains an elegant poet, able to evoke the mysteries of being crafted in the forms of gods while surviving our humanity.She is quick to capture our attention and lingers as we put her book aside in response to daily obligations.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Entrance to the Underworld: Death and Classicism
Louise Glück is a radiant poet.She molds her words and phrases, meter and lines, message and thoughts as a master craftsman.This is her tenth collection of poems and for this reader it is her finest.

The title of the book is the title of the poem ensemble: Averno is a small crater in Italy believed by ancient Romans to be the opening in earth's crust that provided a path to the underworld.It is in this setting that Glück retells the myth of Persephone in eighteen poems in a manner that visits death, anguish, dark lamentations all in a way that makes each of the poems like the intricate complex of a Chinese puzzle.

While some poets are content to re-visit the classics, 'translating' them into contemporary language, Glück is not satisfied to plagiarize.Instead she takes the myth and transforms it into paths to introspection, raising artful questions and thoughts that she adamantly refuses to answer for us.It is the work of a genius poet.It is a treasure of a book. Grady Harp, December 06

5-0 out of 5 stars Fast, well packaged delivery
The book "Averno" appeared almost immediately after I ordered it.The service was efficient and the packaging was secure.

5-0 out of 5 stars When I Think of Louise Gluck's Averno...
I can barely breathe. It's not because I'm a female in some kind of a swoon. It's because she never fails to tell the truth no matter how hard it might be to swallow. Also, most of the Master poets (among which Ms. Gluck surely is included) never, ever fail to tackle those dark, disturbing, complex places most of us refuse to even consider let alone pen as a work of art. As a result, this collection shines, literally, in the dark. I don't care if she uses an ancient mythic-metaphor that has been employed before. I don't care if some find it 'depressing.' But I very much care when a Masterpiece like this doesn't get the 5-star rating I believe it deserves. Ms. Gluck is among the most courageous poets worldwide. I'd say that puts her at the top of my list...exactly where she has always been. ... Read more

9. Vita Nova
by Louise Gluck
 Hardcover: Pages (1999)

Asin: B003Y1Z5HU
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Even though, I'm not american i must say that this the best poetry book i've read in 1999. It's a wonderful book

5-0 out of 5 stars MyPoetry Book Of The Year
As a poetry reader who starts his every day by reading poetry,this book was my favorite for the year of 1999.Ms. Gluck should get a Nobel Prize so that other parts of the world can enjoy her masterpiece collections.

5-0 out of 5 stars best volume of the year
nothing more to say, flat out the best volume of the yea

5-0 out of 5 stars Gluck at her most distraught and extreme.
Gluck's work should be read fully. She is hard to browse through, not only because she writes her individual collections as novels, but because all eight books continue the story of her life, poems chorusing andcoruscating. The surrealist yearnings of Firstborn, the development of wryrhetoric to hide real paing through Triumph of Achilles, the deadlyprecision of Ararat, all culminated in a ferociously ecstatic (in abiblical sense) book, Wild Iris. Since then, Gluck has been in newterritory and taking a lot of flak for it. Vita Nova lacks the iron controlusually associated with Gluck. She is trembling in this book, vulnerable.Her cracks beging to show. Indeed the myth is stitched clumsily to thelife, because Gluck has had a go at depicting her favorite subject(herself) literally coming apart at the seams. Its a triumphantcontinuation of her work, and, as always, I am breathless to see what shedoes next. And next.

3-0 out of 5 stars Vita Nova, no new news
Louise Gluck practices poetry like few others in the language.She does not write single poems; rather, she constructs volumes, she forms arcs of narrative and progression from single poems into books.Vita Nova, for me,does not succeed either as a volume, nor as a collection of individualpoems.The central organizing logic, once again myth, the love of Orpheusand Euridice, offers few new insights into the tediums and betrayal andinsoluble dilemmas of love.It is as if Gluck is traveling in a groove shehas worn well over the years, perhaps too well.The stitching of myth withher own life was done better, though still clumsily, in Meadowlands.Thisis not Ararat, nor is it The Wild Iris, nor Descending Figure, volumes thatinvoke ache.Still, there are some excellent poems in this volume, someheartbreaking lines, and lines that communicate with immediacy and graceand utter wryness ("I thought my life was over and my heart wasbroken. Then my heart was broken.").But there are also poems thatdrag, mired in their own metaphors.Uncompelling. This is a volume thatperhaps her seasoned readers will have to learn to love, at leastappreciate, like Meadowlands.For those who are not familiar with Gluck,be assured that even this outing, not her best, still outshines most poetspublishing today.For a true introduction, beginning readers should startwith Ararat or The Wild Iris.Vita Nova should be saved for a time whenyou love her so much, you'll be able to forgive her at her half-mast.Inthe fleet of her own work, this is no flagship. ... Read more

10. The Clerk's Tale: Poems
by Spencer Reece
Paperback: 80 Pages (2004-04-04)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$1.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618422544
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The New Yorker recently devoted the entire back page to a single poem, "The Clerk"s Tale," by Spencer Reece. This debut author"s first collection had been selected by poet laureate Louise Glück from among 850 submissions to win the 2003 Bakeless Prize of the Bread Loaf Writers" Conference. The poet who drew such unusual attention has a surprising background: for many years he has worked for Brooks Brothers, a fact that lends particular nuance to the title of his collection.
The Clerk"s Tale pays homage not only to Chaucer but to the
clerks" brotherhood of service in the mall, where "the light is bright
and artificial, / yet not dissimilar to that founding a Gothic cathedral." The fifty poems in The Clerk"s Tale are exquisitely restrained, shot though with a longing for permanence, from the quasi-monastic life of two salesmen at Brooks Brothers to the poignant lingering light of a Miami dusk to the weight of geography on an empty Minnesota farm. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars soul connection
To recall a certain rare feeling, or to remember that moment you had long forgotten - that personal connection that long ago left its indelible mark deep inside - warmly reminds us of that human condition in us all: this is what I get from "The Clerk's Tale". Spencer Reece captures that certain sensation, that certain connection with the soul. His poetry really is a revelation of human character. Mr. Reece writes succinctly, yet powerfully, so you physically feel what he expresses - it's like being there. A friend of mine told me about The Clerk's Tale, about how Mr. Reece pulls you into his space, into his soul -- you feel each step he takes as the lights go out at closing time. This small book of poetry is truly captivating in a reminiscent, soulful kind of way. I very much enjoy it every time I pick it up.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exquisite
One of the best books of poetry I've ever read. No doubt. Reece has a unique ear for the way people talk, the real conversation underneath the surface of dialogue. His seeing and hearing are perhaps (and arguably) one of the more nuanced in contemporary poetry today, in that--like any great photographer--he manages to conjure the magic of making us, the readers and "viewers," forget that he is the medium by which we are bearing witness. Furthermore, in the way of talented cinematographers, Reece is able to convey his characters' interior lives with minimal dialog because of his flourish for authentic and evocative exterior particulars. Robert Pinsky said, "Poetry, art of the human voice, helps turn us toward what we should or must not ignore. Speaking as they can across barriers actual and figurative, translated into our American tongue, these voices in confinement implicitly call us to our principles and to our humanity. They deserve, above all, not admiration or belief or sympathy--but attention. Attention to them is urgent for us." This is what I believe Spencer Reece does, and does exquisitely. Wendell Barry tells us in his poem "How to be a Poet," that "... You must depend upon affection... Breathe with unconditional breath... Communicate slowly... There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places." Few writers speak better to those ideals right now than Spencer Reece--though I will admit to a major bias. (Spencer--if you're reading this--please know, I don't think I've ever been more grateful for a book of poems. Truly. Will you be my poetry mentor? Peace, friend.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Luminous Poems
I read this entire book of poems in one sitting---something I rarely do with poetry.It's hard to believe that this is a first book of poetry because the poems are so amazing, succinct and perfect.It's a journey into one man's life that will leave you wanting more.

Thank you, Mr. Reece, for sharing your life though your awesome poems.

5-0 out of 5 stars Minnesota, Florida, Silence
Reece takes his reader's around the US and brings them back to themselves. For the first time, for me at least, one sees the irony of the beauty of the outside of a hospital and then the agony within.

One travels from the busy streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, to the quiet back waters of Florida. Reece shows a great desire of silence, for solitude. When a days work is done he goes home and shuts himself in a room, left with nothing but silence and his thoughts.

A reflextion on life and what is all the hurry about.

5-0 out of 5 stars amazing
I heard this guy read at a Poetry Society of America-sponsored reading and amidst all the other outstanding poets, his was the voice I wanted to know more about. He's the real thing. ... Read more

11. The Seven Ages
by Louise Gluck
Paperback: 80 Pages (2002-04-01)
list price: US$12.99 -- used & new: US$5.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060933496
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Louise GlÜck has long practiced poetry as a species of clairvoyance. She began as Cassandra, at a distance, in league with the immortal; to read her books sequentially is to chart the oracle's metamorphosis into unwilling vessel, reckless, mortal, and crude. The Seven Ages is GlÜck's ninth book, her strangest and most bold. In it she stares down her own death, and, in so doing, forces endless superimpositions of the possible on the impossible -- an act that simultaneously defies and embraces the inevitable, and is, finally, mimetic. Over and over, at each wild leap or transformation, flames shoot up the reader's spine.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars Had this collection not born the prestige of her name and an award, would we still like it?
Let's break this down. Louise Gluck's reputation precedes her poetry, so much so that I persuaded myself into buying this book, sayiing "It must be good."

There are good lines:
"Time was moving in one direction, like a wave lifting
the whole house, the whole village."

but the same poem (Radium) includes the shockingly cliche and ineffective:
"we were growing up. But
it wasn't something you decided to do;
it was something that happened, something
you couldn't control."

Really, Gluck? You give us an absolute gorgeous poem like "Ancient Text" in which "night and day, angels were/ discussing my meanings. Night and Day, I revised my appeals...I spoke only to angels." More gorgeous lines like "when I didn't move I was more perfect."

Really, Gluck? You couldn't give us consistently good poems? Her strength--her simplicity, the way she constructs lightning-quick intelligent statements--ultimately turns into her weakness: flat, meaningless lines that sink into their own prosaic predictability. Some of the reviews for some reason mention Plath. I wouldn't want Gluck to go that far in her style (I'm not a fan of Plath's--shoot me). But in this collection, I could have done with more energy and not so many declarative monotonous poems.

I was disappointed in this collection, though there are some great poems in here. Buy if you can, get a copy of it cheap and read poems like "Summer at the Beach," "Ancient Texts" "Youth" and "Ripe Peach" and "Unpainted Door."

We must have higher standards for ourselves, though I really admire her commitment to intellectualism--a rarity in contemporary American poetry.

Better luck next time, Louise.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Louise Glück's 2001 poetry collection The Seven Ages features the style readers have come to expect from her: a somewhat simple writing style, a confessional style, and a strong point of view.The collection opens with several poems dedicated to the travails of growing older.The regret of forgotten dreams and the realization of death dominate the first quarter of the collection and infuse throughout the collection.

However, Glück's obsession with growing older brings her back to childhood the topic of much of the rest of the collection.It is through her childhood memories that Glück recognizes the unmovable force of time.In "Radium," Glück writes:

"And then fall was gone, the year was gone.
We were changing, we were growing up.But
it wasn't something you decided to do;
it was something that happened, something
you couldn't control."

This glimpse into childhood and the loss of times gone by is something of which everyone can relate from young adults to senior citizens.

Permeating through the entirety of the collection is nature and the impact on our memories.In "Ripe Peach," Glück celebrates the joys of life through the simple enjoyment of a ripe piece of fruit.In "Copper Beech," Glück remembers her childhood through a single tree from her childhood home.In fact, the tree finds its way into a few other poems to resonate its importance.

The overarching themes of Glück's collection make it a nice read with no really jarring changes in theme.Glück experiments a little with style but nothing overly experimental.

3-0 out of 5 stars Bollingen Prize winner
I know Gluck has won all kinds of awards and honors, but to be honest, I found this collection to be mediocre (though her poem "Youth" is pretty good). It isn't bad, but it isn't something that I'd recommend anyone run out and buy.

5-0 out of 5 stars brilliant, idiosyncratic
Salient in this book is Louise Gluck's absolute brilliant mastery of every aspect of poetry.She said somewhere that this was her weirdest book yet.It's not among the most experimental poetry published today; it's unique great Louise Gluck.Every word in every poem feels like a monumental perfection.

I hope this review has been helpful to you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jaguarian Grace
I recently saw a review of Louise Glück's "The Seven Ages." With a kind of innocent wantonness, the reviewer dismissed the worthiness of Gluck's collective output, and flatly declared the book to be without idea, philosophy, pleasure.

In a perfect world, people would be shot for less, and organ procurement teams notified.

Glück strips. She prefers elemental language---hers is a hard-body and athletic poetry---but her sparsity never short-changes emotional impact, borealistic or far subtler. To wit, from "Youth;"

"My sister and I at two ends of the sofa,
reading (I suppose) English novels.
The television on; various schoolbooks open,
or places marked with sheets of lined paper.
Euclid, Pythagoras. As though we had looked into
the origin of thought and preferred novels."

Her subject matter, if not the whole of the world and us in it, frequently takes the form of love---real love, passionate love, the opiate kind come riding zephyrs, powerful enough to border hystericism, such is its biological power. This focus also includes at times the unhappy aftermath, such as is found in "The Balcony":

"It was a night like this, at the end of summer.

We had rented, I remember, a room with a balcony.
How many days and nights? Five, perhaps-no more.

Even when we weren't touching we were making love.
We stood on our little balcony in the summer night.
And off somewhere, the sounds of human life.

We were the soon to be anointed monarchs,
well disposed to our subjects. Just beneath us,
sounds of a radio playing, an aria we didn't in those years know.

Someone dying of love. Someone from whom time had taken
the only happiness, who was alone now,
impoverished, without beauty.

The rapturous notes of an unendurable grief, of isolation and terror,
the nearly impossible to sustain slow phrases of the ascending figures-
they drifted out over the dark water
like an ecstasy.

Such a small mistake. And many years later,
the only thing left of that night, of the hours in that room."

We get the whole of it: the event experienced, the event witnessed, the event's ramifications as prophecy, and finally the unretainable ecstasy and brutal wisdom of the high-country moment, returned to everyday living, so far as possible. Contrary to unpopular opinion, Glück's latest work makes the most of idea and philosophy and pleasure, embodied in its paced and quiet understatement, signifying its origins in the truly genuine. The Seven Ages rings with the sharp strike of the authentic, rarely sinking into the echoes of sentimentality.

Really, is another round of balloting necessary to induct Glück into a mythical poetry hall of fame? This one goes on the first ballot.

Read the book. More ripe delights await. ... Read more

Hardcover: 288 Pages (2006-12-01)
list price: US$44.95 -- used & new: US$35.96
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Asin: 0826216935
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A dominant figure in American poetry for more than thirty-five years, Louise Glück has been the recipient of virtually every major poetry award and was named U.S. poet laureate for 2003–2004. In a new full-length study of her work, Daniel Morris explores how this prolific poet utilizes masks of characters from history, the Bible, and even fairy tales.
            Morris treats Glück’s persistent themes—desire, hunger, trauma, survival—through close reading of her major book-length sequences from the 1990s: Ararat, Meadowlands, and The Wild Iris. An additional chapter devoted to The House on Marshland (1975) shows how its revision of Romanticism and nature poetry anticipated these later works. Seeing Glück’s poems as complex analyses of the authorial self via sustained central metaphors, Morris reads her poetry against a narrative pattern that shifts from the tones of anger, despair, and resentment found in her early Firstborn to the resignation of Ararat—and proceeds in her latest volumes, including Vita Nova and Averno, toward an ambivalent embrace of embodied life.
By showing how Glück’s poems may be read as a form of commentary on the meanings of great literature and myth, Morris emphasizes her irreverent attitude toward the canons through which she both expresses herself and deflects her autobiographical impulse. By discussing her sense of self, of Judaism, and of the poetic tradition, he explores her position as a mystic poet with an ambivalent relationship to religious discourse verging on Gnosticism, with tendencies toward the ancient rabbinic midrash tradition of reading scripture. He particularly shows how her creative reading of past poets expresses her vision of Judaism as a way of thinking about canonical texts.
            The Poetry of Louise Glück is a quintessential study of how poems may be read as a form of commentary on the meanings of great literature and myth. It clearly demonstrates that, through this lens of commentary, one can grasp more firmly the very idea of poetry itself that Glück has spent her career both defining and extending.
... Read more

13. On Louise Gluck: Change What You See (Under Discussion)
Hardcover: 200 Pages (2005-05-03)
list price: US$70.00 -- used & new: US$70.00
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Asin: 0472114794
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On Louise Glück features essays by leading critics, poets, and scholars that explore the work of recent U.S. poet laureate Louise Glück.

Glück, author of nine books of poetry, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Wild Iris, is noted for her searing honesty and compelling first-person personae. Though compared to world-famous verse by Sappho and Dickinson, Glück's poetry has remained curiously undigested among readers of contemporary poetry for some time. On Louise Glück gathers for the first time a diverse array of essays by the leading critics of this preeminent poet. Featuring a probing, extended interview with Glück, On Louise Glück traces the critical reception of her work and offers new insights into her imaginative, mysterious poetry.

... Read more

14. Green Squall
by Jay Hopler
Kindle Edition: 96 Pages (2006-04-11)
list price: US$16.00
Asin: B0017X0UMC
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Jay Hopler's Green Squall is the winner of the 2005 Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. As Louise Glück observes in her foreword, “Green Squall begins and ends in the garden”; however, Hopler’s gardens are not of the seasonal variety evoked by poets of the English lyric—his gardens flourish at lower, fiercer latitudes and in altogether different mindscapes. There is a darkness in Hopler’s work as deep and brutal as any in American poetry. Though his verbal extravagance and formal invention bring to mind Wallace Stevens’s tropical extrapolations, there lies beneath Green Squall’s lush tropical surfaces a terrifying world in which nightmare and celebration are indistinguishable, and hope is synonymous with despair.
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Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Exterminating Angel
He makes up new words when the old ones just aren't hitting the mark, such as his use of 'lizarding,' in the line "The grass was lizarding."

His idea of a garden is different than the traditional Marvell garden of poesy, for he's from Florida and the airs and breezes of the Caribbean are never far away.People there have different ideas of what to do with their leisure.In another poem he rebukes Wallace Stevens for writing poems about Florida based on only casual, nearly imaginary visits only.Lately there's been a lot of questioning Stevens, but rarely on grounds so amusing; not only amusing but absolutely challengeworthy.Those of us who think of Key West because we read a poem by Wallace Stevens have things absolutely wrong, and Hopler is a good corrective, for he makes Florida seem dreary, mother-ridden and squashed with overdetermination, more like a spiritually impassable kingdom of Middle Earth than Steven's exotic Martin Denny stereosphere of birds calling, rain splashing, tiki worshipping.

Rhythm of a very different sort haunts his lines; from repetition, the simplest of childs' tools, he builds the kind of music Harry Partch might have envied.Bukowski too: "There is a black fly drowning in that glass of beer./ There is a black fly drowning in that glass of beer."Not by beer alone but through simple loneliness and also, the mistakes of FEMA, do we drown like black flies."The man with the beer is a fisherman,/ Small and gigantic/ / in his white rubber boots."Cunningly an allegory of race relations, the black and the white, is built up from a few small simple and sensual details, largely color and texture.Hopler takes on big themes, but delivers in small strokes, like a master barber giving you the shave of your life.He speaks of the light "one finds in baby pictures" and he nails it as "old/ and pale and hurt" thus closing the circle on an entire misspent life.As he says, the big things such as the death of one's father jolt one to life, but it's the small things from which we derive our misery.An angel beats and beats each of us until we learn to love the pain.

Once again Louise Gluck has pulled forth another winner from a long supply of winners.

5-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable to read
I very much enjoyed this collection. The voice is intimate, compelling, authentic, feels honest, curious, and contemplative. I got the sense of isolation and doubt but the speaker is also sensitive, funny, and inquisitive, so the voice rarely drifts into complete nihilism. There are also moments of humor and self-mockery.I wouldn't say it's without any pretension, but those moments are usually buffered by humility or self-contempt. He uses repetition in fresh ways and it becomes a formal device but never monotonous--not only repeating lines and phrases, but images are repeated, symbols, landscapes. It makes for a nice feeling of progression in the book. The poems take risks and sometimes they succeed as wildly and vividly as Lowell in his most eccentric moments, for example in the poem "The Frustrated Angel." Other times (for me) it felt too much like a puzzle and not poetry, for example "Firecracker Catalogue," --although that may be more reflective of my own taste than of his talent, which is obvious. But even with the few poems that were not my cup of tea, I still thought this collection was potent and enjoyable. I would recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars heartbreaking
The most remarkable debut collection I think I've ever read.Jay Hopler explores a vivid, plangent emotional terrain, wrestling out the difficulties of faith and love and longing with an elegance that re-imagines the expressive capacity of language.A well-deserved award-winner, a major talent. ... Read more

15. Firstborn (American Poetry Series)
by Louise Gluck
 Paperback: 53 Pages (1983-04)
list price: US$5.95 -- used & new: US$69.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0912946938
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This is the first collection of poems by Louise Glück, who was born in 1943 in New York. In 1967 she received a Rockefeller Foundation grant for her poetry.

Her poems deal in wastelands, the lost lives of cripples, the hopeless and loveless; yet her landscapes have a stern beauty, a mythic size that looms behind the everyday. Arid, merciless, stinging, yet full of life, these are strikingly original poems. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars First Masterpiece FromA Masterpoetess
A mature work from her relatively immature period.Serene and inviting.. ... Read more

16. October (Quarternote Chapbook Series)
by Louise Gluck
Paperback: 32 Pages (2004-04-01)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$3.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1932511008
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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The third annual edition of Sarabande's Quarternote Chapbook Series.

Identifying with the season of autumn, the dark of it, the barren, irreversible future of it, and the beauty of it, which is not seen as redemptive, the voice of Louise Glück is starker, more direct, more emotionally charged than it has ever been. October is a masterpiece.

?Mark Strand

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars Oh Please...
Gluck's new chapbook has all the character, texture, and smell of a cistern...you know, one of those vast labyrinthine sewer systems popular during the Roman Empire.So already we're talking about a paragon of bad writing.The flow of sewage could be fast, at the very least (as there are abundant opportunities for it in her structure), but she chooses to keep the spigot closed, so eventually the stench becomes oppressive to the point of unimaginability.Gluck needs a real job...one with less responsibility attached to it than a poet's.

5-0 out of 5 stars a statement of no less significance for its brevity
Louise Gluck is dark poet with all the disillusionment of a visionary who does not ever barricade her mind to keep herself feeling safe.No one but Louise Gluck could ever have written this beautiful, crystal clear little book of masterful verse.Her use of language is unique & also accessible, & each of her syllables thuds into you like a punch in the gut & a pillow for you to fall deeply into.

5-0 out of 5 stars It Is October But It Is Not Cold Again
Deep,captivating andprovoking.A gigantic landscape painted with meticulously picked sage words.The poet laurate of the U.S.
should not be kept awaiting for Nobel until 2013 ... ... Read more

17. The Veiled Mirror and the Woman Poet: H.D., Louise Bogan, Elizabeth Bishop, and Louise Gluck
by Elizabeth Dodd
 Hardcover: 215 Pages (1992-11)
list price: US$44.95 -- used & new: US$38.05
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Asin: 0826208576
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars A metronomic alternation of anecdote and response
In this work, L. Gluck shows the reader her true strong emotion, and the enthalpy of love. Her images are gripping -- sometimes stark and at other times lush and vibrant. Common to all her pieces is the ability to move the reader to feel emotion. Maybe it is a sudden gasp of revelation of connection or perhaps the moment comes later, when the poetry resurfaces from deep in memory. Beware, emotions will be evoked. ... Read more

18. The Cuckoo (Yale Series of Younger Poets)
by Peter Streckfus
Paperback: 80 Pages (2004-03-11)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$7.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300102720
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The winner of this year's Yale Series of Younger Poets competition is Peter Streckfus's The Cuckoo, chosen by competition judge and Poet Laureate Louise Glück. It is Glück's first selection as judge. In this unforgettable, daring first collection, Peter Streckfus offers the reader poems of deep originality and astonishing power. Taking his inspiration from both American and Chinese culture, Streckfus seems an impossible combination of John Ashbery and Ezra Pound. In her Foreword, Glück praises Streckfus's art for it "nonsense and mystery," its "mesmerizing beauty" and "luminous high-mindedness." THE DUNG PILEThe varied voices of crows rose and fell.As I lay in the grass, dark-

Eyed juncos flew down beside me,flittering and twittering, and gleaned the mustard seed fallen ontomy body. Their black beads and death hoods.Their white coat tails.I whispered to them: Surely it is you who

make the honey of which the Berber speak,honey which they secret from your nest in the dreamy hours of the

haze, lining their throats each morningas if with a paste of fire ant stings,or do you make the mists which tangle into clouds through the

mountainsto the south of ranches?They continue to eat from me.One picked

out an oat seed, another, a blade of bluestem. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites
This is a brilliant book, with incredible depth and beauty. I reread it every few months, and it never fails to reveal something new and wonderful to me. The collection is smart, sad, playful, and quiet. I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Allusive, great poetry
There's something exciting and difficult to put one's finger on in here -- allusive.It's poetry of imagery and fluidity.Its not poetry of moral instruction, self-expression, or the technical view -- poetry as literary exercise -- though it embraces all of those elements.What makes it a great book is its exploration of a such an original world -- but as all great poets and poetry, still sounds as familiar as the wind.

1-0 out of 5 stars Mediocre American Poetry
Some pretty lines, but the fog never clears to reveal any depth, meaning, or technical proficiency.

5-0 out of 5 stars a terrific new book
Streckfus' first book is a marvel: a poetry collection that evidences new life for the narrative poem, for the incorporation of fairy tale, myth and history in mysterious and moving ways. ... Read more

19. The Triumph of Achilles
by Louise Gluck
 Paperback: 72 Pages (1987-05)
list price: US$11.00 -- used & new: US$65.86
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0880010827
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars The Triumph of Achillesis a Triumph forL. Glück
In her fourth collection of poetry the readers are once again consistently rewarded with elegant,deep and distinctive poems.The thin collection(26 short poems) is painlessly read but rather deeply felt. Another powerfuloutput I can satisfyingly reread. ... Read more

20. It Is Daylight (Yale Series of Younger Poets)
by Arda Collins
Paperback: 112 Pages (2009-04-07)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$9.18
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300148887
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Arda Collins is the 2008 winner of the annual Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. Mesmerizing and electric, her poems seem to be articulated in the privacy of an enclosed space. The poems are concrete and yet metaphysically challenging, both witty and despairing. Collins’ emotional complexity and uncommon range make this debut both thrillingly imaginative and ethical in its uncompromising attention to detail. In her Foreword, contest judge Louise Glück observes, “I know no poet whose sense of fraud, the inflated emptiness that substitutes for feeling, is more acute.” Glück calls Collins’ volume “savage, desolate, brutally ironic . . . a book of astonishing originality and intensity, unprecedented, unrepeatable.”

... Read more

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