The Book Of Poems 1962-2012
It is the astonishment of Louise Glück's poetry that it resists collection. With each successive book her drive to leave behind what came before has grown more fierce, the force of her gaze fixed on what has yet to be imagined. She invented a form to accommodate this need, the book-length sequence of poems, like a landscape seen from above, a novel with lacunae opening onto the unspeakable. The reiterated yet endlessly transfigured elements in this landscape - Persephone, a copper beech, a mother and father and sister, a garden, a husband and son, a horse, a dog, a field on fire, a mountain - persistently emerge and reappear with the dark energy of the inevitable, shot through with the bright aspect of things new-made.
From the outset ("Come here / Come here, little one"), Gluck's voice has addressed us with deceptive simplicity, the poems in lines so clear we "do not see the intervening fathoms."
From within the earth's
bitter disgrace, coldness and barrenness
my friend the moon rises:
she is beautiful tonight, but when is she not beautiful?
To read these books together is to understand the governing paradox of a life lived in the body and of the work wrested from it, the one fated to die and the other to endure.
About the Author
Louise Glück is one of America’s finest contemporary poets. In 2020 Louise Glück has become the first American woman to win the Nobel prize for literature in 27 years, cited for “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”. Glück is the 16th woman to win the Nobel, and the first American woman since Toni Morrison took the prize in 1993. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Glück is a former Poet Laureate of the United States and the author of a dozen widely acclaimed books. Stephen Dobyns, writing in the New York Times Book Review, said “no American poet writes better than Louise Glück, perhaps none can lead us so deeply into our own nature.” Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Hass has called her “one of the purest and most accomplished lyric poets now writing.” Evocative and lyrically graceful, Glück’s work is noted for its emotional intensity and technical precision. Glück’s considerable accomplishments as a poet are apparent in her 2013 collected works, Poems: 1962-2012. She received the 2014 National Book Award for her most recent collection of poems, Faithful and Virtuous Night, and in 2015 received the National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her latest book of essays is titled American Originality.