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Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
From Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Glück, a stunningly beautiful collection of poems that encompasses the natural, human, and spiritual realms
Bound together by the universal themes of time and mortality and with clarity and sureness of craft, Louise Glück's poetry questions, explores, and finally celebrates the ordeal of being alive.
In an earlier set of poems, The Garden, Gluck retold the myth of Eden; in this sequence it is clear that paradise has been lost, and the poet, Eve-like, struggles to make sense of her place in the universe. For this old and still post-modern theme, Gluck bravely takes the risk of adopting a highly symbolic structure. She uses the conceit of parallel discourses between the flowers of a garden and the gardener (the poet), and between the gardener/poet and an unnamed god. The reader shares the poet's human predicament of being caught between these material and spiritual worlds, each lush and musical, drawing inspiration from both: from the flowers, a hymn to communality; from the god, a universal view of human suffering. The collection was awarded the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for poetry.
The lyrical Gluck, who won a Pulitzer for The Wild Iris, uses the Odyssey to illuminate contemporary marriage in the "chastened, spiritual" poems of Meadowlands.
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"Louise Gluck is a poet of strong and haunting presence. Her poems, published in a series of memorable books over the last twenty years, have achieved the unusual distinction of being neither 'confessional' nor 'intellectual' in the usual senses of those words, which are often thought to represent two camps in the life of poetry. . . . What a strange book The Wild Iris is, appearing in this fin-de-siecle, written in the language of flowers. It Is a lieder cycle, with all the mournful cadences of that form." (Helen Vendler, The New Republic)
"Gluck is a poet of strong and haunting presence. Her poems. . . have achieved the unusual distinction of being neither 'confessional' nor 'intellectual' in the usual senses of those words, which are often thought to represent two camps in the life of poetry. . . . What a strange book The Wild Iris is, appearing in this fin-de-siecle, written in the language of flowers. . . . It wagers everything on the poetic energy remaining in the old troubadour image of the spring, the Biblical lilies of the field, natural resurrection." (The New Republic)
"There are a few living poets whose new poems one always feels eager to read. Louise Gluck ranks at the top of the list. Her writing's emotional and rhetorical intensity are beyond dispute. Not once in six books has she wavered from a formal seriousness, an unhurried sense of control and a starkness of expression that, like a scalpel, slices the mist dwelling between hope and pain." (David Biespiel, Washington Post)
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