web site hit counter Faithful and Virtuous Night - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Faithful and Virtuous Night

Availability: Ready to download

Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Poetry A luminous, seductive new collection from the "fearless" (The New York Times) Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Glück is one of the finest American poets at work today. Her Poems 1962-2012 was hailed as "a major event in this country's literature" in the pages of The New York Times. Every new collection is at once a deepenin Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Poetry A luminous, seductive new collection from the "fearless" (The New York Times) Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Glück is one of the finest American poets at work today. Her Poems 1962-2012 was hailed as "a major event in this country's literature" in the pages of The New York Times. Every new collection is at once a deepening and a revelation. Faithful and Virtuous Night is no exception. You enter the world of this spellbinding book through one of its many dreamlike portals, and each time you enter it's the same place but it has been arranged differently. You were a woman. You were a man. This is a story of adventure, an encounter with the unknown, a knight's undaunted journey into the kingdom of death; this is a story of the world you've always known, that first primer where "on page three a dog appeared, on page five a ball" and every familiar facet has been made to shimmer like the contours of a dream, "the dog float[ing] into the sky to join the ball." Faithful and Virtuous Night tells a single story but the parts are mutable, the great sweep of its narrative mysterious and fateful, heartbreaking and charged with wonder.


Compare

Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Poetry A luminous, seductive new collection from the "fearless" (The New York Times) Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Glück is one of the finest American poets at work today. Her Poems 1962-2012 was hailed as "a major event in this country's literature" in the pages of The New York Times. Every new collection is at once a deepenin Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Poetry A luminous, seductive new collection from the "fearless" (The New York Times) Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Glück is one of the finest American poets at work today. Her Poems 1962-2012 was hailed as "a major event in this country's literature" in the pages of The New York Times. Every new collection is at once a deepening and a revelation. Faithful and Virtuous Night is no exception. You enter the world of this spellbinding book through one of its many dreamlike portals, and each time you enter it's the same place but it has been arranged differently. You were a woman. You were a man. This is a story of adventure, an encounter with the unknown, a knight's undaunted journey into the kingdom of death; this is a story of the world you've always known, that first primer where "on page three a dog appeared, on page five a ball" and every familiar facet has been made to shimmer like the contours of a dream, "the dog float[ing] into the sky to join the ball." Faithful and Virtuous Night tells a single story but the parts are mutable, the great sweep of its narrative mysterious and fateful, heartbreaking and charged with wonder.

30 review for Faithful and Virtuous Night

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    Congratulations to Louise Glück, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for Literature Aboriginal Landscape Louise Glück You’re stepping on your father, my mother said, and indeed I was standing exactly in the center of a bed of grass, mown so neatly it could have been my father’s grave, although there was no stone saying so. You’re stepping on your father, she repeated, louder this time, which began to be strange to me, since she was dead herself; even the doctor had admitted it. I moved slightly to the side, to Congratulations to Louise Glück, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for Literature Aboriginal Landscape Louise Glück You’re stepping on your father, my mother said, and indeed I was standing exactly in the center of a bed of grass, mown so neatly it could have been my father’s grave, although there was no stone saying so. You’re stepping on your father, she repeated, louder this time, which began to be strange to me, since she was dead herself; even the doctor had admitted it. I moved slightly to the side, to where my father ended and my mother began. The cemetery was silent. Wind blew through the trees; I could hear, very faintly, sounds of  weeping several rows away, and beyond that, a dog wailing. At length these sounds abated. It crossed my mind I had no memory of   being driven here, to what now seemed a cemetery, though it could have been a cemetery in my mind only; perhaps it was a park, or if not a park, a garden or bower, perfumed, I now realized, with the scent of roses — douceur de vivre filling the air, the sweetness of  living, as the saying goes. At some point, it occurred to me I was alone. Where had the others gone, my cousins and sister, Caitlin and Abigail? By now the light was fading. Where was the car waiting to take us home? I then began seeking for some alternative. I felt an impatience growing in me, approaching, I would say, anxiety. Finally, in the distance, I made out a small train, stopped, it seemed, behind some foliage, the conductor lingering against a doorframe, smoking a cigarette. Do not forget me, I cried, running now over many plots, many mothers and fathers — Do not forget me, I cried, when at last I reached him. Madam, he said, pointing to the tracks, surely you realize this is the end, the tracks do not go further. His words were harsh, and yet his eyes were kind; this encouraged me to press my case harder. But they go back, I said, and I remarked their sturdiness, as though they had many such returns ahead of them. You know, he said, our work is difficult: we confront much sorrow and disappointment. He gazed at me with increasing frankness. I was like you once, he added, in love with turbulence. Now I spoke as to an old friend: What of  you, I said, since he was free to leave, have you no wish to go home, to see the city again? This is my home, he said. The city — the city is where I disappear. This is Glück’s 2014 book of poetry that was awarded The National Book Award. It’s dreamlike, looking back in magical memory and forward into the kingdom of death. Sometimes it feels gothic, with characters from her life floating in and out, her mother, her father. My birthday (I remember) is fast approaching, Perhaps the two great moments will collide and I will see my selves meet, coming and going-- Of course, much of my original self is already dead, so a ghost would be forced to embrace a mutilation. The fairy tale story that is at the heart of it is of two children who have lost their parents, having to live with their aunt, which leads to isolation, to loneliness, a permanent sense of loss. Some of the poems seem to shimmer, luminescent. One poetry collection, mostly narrative, from one central motif. The night progressed. Fog swirled over the lit bulbs. I suppose that is where it was visible; elsewhere, it was simply the way things were, blurred where they had been sharp. Haunting, melancholy, inspiring. The power of memory and loss. Night pervades. Dream logic. Dreamscape. An elderly male painter narrates: It has come to seem there are no perfect endings. Indeed, there are infinite endings. Or perhaps once one begins, there are only endings.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    A man walks alone in the park and besides him a woman walks, also alone. How does one know? It is as though a line exists between them, like a line on a playing field. And yet, in a photograph they might appear a married couple, weary of each other and of the many winters they have endured together. At another time, they might be strangers about to meet by accident. She drops her book; stooping to pick it up, she touches, by accident, his hand and her heart springs open like a child's music box. A man walks alone in the park and besides him a woman walks, also alone. How does one know? It is as though a line exists between them, like a line on a playing field. And yet, in a photograph they might appear a married couple, weary of each other and of the many winters they have endured together. At another time, they might be strangers about to meet by accident. She drops her book; stooping to pick it up, she touches, by accident, his hand and her heart springs open like a child's music box. And out of the box comes a little ballerina made of wood. I have created this, the man thinks; though she can only whirl in place, still she is a dancer of some kind, not simply a block of wood. This must explain the puzzling music coming from the trees.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    Writing this beautiful and assured deserves 5 stars, without a doubt. To be honest, though, this is one collection I think I'm going to need to read again someday. I have a haunting feeling that I didn't quite get it. Writing this beautiful and assured deserves 5 stars, without a doubt. To be honest, though, this is one collection I think I'm going to need to read again someday. I have a haunting feeling that I didn't quite get it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    4,5* THEORY OF MEMORY Long, long ago, before I was a tormented artist, afflicted with longing yet incapable of forming durable attachments, long before this, I was a glorious ruler uniting all of a divided country—so I was told by the fortune-teller who examined my palm. Great things, she said, are ahead of you, or perhaps behind you; it is difficult to be sure. And yet, she added, what is the difference? Right now you are a child holding hands with a fortune-teller. All the rest is hypothesis an 4,5* THEORY OF MEMORY Long, long ago, before I was a tormented artist, afflicted with longing yet incapable of forming durable attachments, long before this, I was a glorious ruler uniting all of a divided country—so I was told by the fortune-teller who examined my palm. Great things, she said, are ahead of you, or perhaps behind you; it is difficult to be sure. And yet, she added, what is the difference? Right now you are a child holding hands with a fortune-teller. All the rest is hypothesis and dream. Enquanto o meu Lobinho não ganha o Nobel e a Academia não se decide a fazer a vontade a 99% dos leitores do mundo dando o prémio ao Muri-coiso para aplacar a revolta, agrada-me que este prémio traga à ribalta autores que me são desconhecidos. E, ainda por cima, mulher. E, ainda por cima, com poesia. O que vejo em Louise Glück é uma autora que escreve essencialmente pequenas histórias, às vezes, em prosa, outras vezes em forma de poema, sem subterfúgios e sem rendilhados, onde imperam as paisagens, a melancolia e a nostalgia, com uma certa graça que advém do inesperado. APPROACH OF THE HORIZON One morning I awoke unable to move my right arm. I had, periodically, suffered from considerable pain on that side, in my painting arm, but in this instance there was no pain. Indeed, there was no feeling. (...) My birthday (I remember) is fast approaching. Perhaps the two great moments will collide and I will see my selves meet, coming and going— Of course, much of my original self is already dead, so a ghost would be forced to embrace a mutilation. (...) The window is closed. Silence again, multiplied. And in my right arm, all feeling departed. As when the stewardess announces the conclusion of the audio portion of one’s in-flight service. Feeling has departed— it occurs to me this would make a fine headstone. But I was wrong to suggest this has occurred before. In fact, I have been hounded by feeling; it is the gift of expression that has so often failed me. Failed me, tormented me, virtually all my life. (...)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    Faithful and Virtuous Night: Poems, Louise Glück's most recent volume of poetry is pure magic. The language is as luminescent as always and there is a story-a kind of fairy tale of two children who have lost their parents, people lost in a world of shadows and light-play. Everyone who loves language should read this. Faithful and Virtuous Night: Poems, Louise Glück's most recent volume of poetry is pure magic. The language is as luminescent as always and there is a story-a kind of fairy tale of two children who have lost their parents, people lost in a world of shadows and light-play. Everyone who loves language should read this.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey (Akiva) Savett

    I was waiting for this book to come out today the same way one awaits new music from a beloved band. Christian Wiman's new book of poetry came out today too, as did Interpol's new CD. Anyway. This collection starts off powerfully and I felt like I was sitting down with an old friend. The magic and veils were all there. The surgical precision of Gluck's language. But as the poems went on, they felt flimsier. The abstractions started to pile up; things got too cerebral and detached. Like the best of I was waiting for this book to come out today the same way one awaits new music from a beloved band. Christian Wiman's new book of poetry came out today too, as did Interpol's new CD. Anyway. This collection starts off powerfully and I felt like I was sitting down with an old friend. The magic and veils were all there. The surgical precision of Gluck's language. But as the poems went on, they felt flimsier. The abstractions started to pile up; things got too cerebral and detached. Like the best of Gluck's work, the poems in this collection speak nicely to each other and that intertextuality is still there. But it felt like Gluck lost interest a bit in the last third of the poems here; I did as well.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    On the back of the omnibus edition I have of Glück's poetry from 1962-2012 is a quote from a New York Times Review of her work. It reads in part:Put together these compact volumes have a great novel's cohesiveness and raking moral intensity. They display a supple and prosecutorial mind interrogating not merely her own life but also the sensual and political nature of the world that spins around it. [Glück's] poems bring with them perilously low barometric pressure... [She] is fearless. 'Why love On the back of the omnibus edition I have of Glück's poetry from 1962-2012 is a quote from a New York Times Review of her work. It reads in part:Put together these compact volumes have a great novel's cohesiveness and raking moral intensity. They display a supple and prosecutorial mind interrogating not merely her own life but also the sensual and political nature of the world that spins around it. [Glück's] poems bring with them perilously low barometric pressure... [She] is fearless. 'Why love what you will lose?' she asks. She answers her own question: 'There is nothing else to love' I always thought that quote hit the exact reasons I keep returning to her poetry. I am on some level a sentimental person, which always leaves me searching for a happily ever after moment in what I read. Glück'll give them to me, but they won't be the end; they'll just be a breif enough flash to illuminate the full landscape of melancholy she's created. I get the sense reading her that love and pain are not two mutually exclusive feelings, but two emotions needed to understand one another. And it's because she operates with such a vaguely defined boundary between despair and joy that I always leave her work feeling like I understand what I'm feeling better. I'm always impressed at Glück's ability to create a whole collection from one central motif, and Faithful and Virtuous Night is no exception. The power of memory seems like such an overworked topic for poetry, but the sheer level of understanding Glück posesses about the consciousness of her narrators is enough to keep me from caring. In particular, the title poem hits hard because of how flawed and real the man who's speaking is. He saysIt has come to seem there are no perfect endings. Indeed, there are infinite endings. Or perhaps once one begins, there are only endings.and in those few words I felt the force of the whole lifetime Glück had created for him. I felt the weight of the moments where the fleeting nature of his life becomes clear. I felt the circumstances that led him to adopt such a cynical view on life. And somehow it didn't feel like just another navel gazing piece about how unreliable memory is. I guess I shouldn't have doubted Glück's ability to create such a pitch perfect voice. Especially considering that she believably wrote from the perspective of God in The Wild Iris.

  8. 4 out of 5

    T.D. Whittle

    THEORY OF MEMORY Long, long ago, before I was a tormented artist, afflicted with longing yet incapable of forming durable attachments, long before this, I was a glorious ruler uniting all of a divided country—so I was told by the fortune-teller who examined my palm. Great things, she said, are ahead of you, or perhaps behind you; it is difficult to be sure. And yet, she added, what is the difference? Right now you are a child holding hands with a fortune-teller. All the rest is hypothesis and THEORY OF MEMORY Long, long ago, before I was a tormented artist, afflicted with longing yet incapable of forming durable attachments, long before this, I was a glorious ruler uniting all of a divided country—so I was told by the fortune-teller who examined my palm. Great things, she said, are ahead of you, or perhaps behind you; it is difficult to be sure. And yet, she added, what is the difference? Right now you are a child holding hands with a fortune-teller. All the rest is hypothesis and dream. Absolutely stunning. Depending on your nature, this hypnotic selection of poems can be enjoyed in the bleakest of midwinters, huddled by the fireplace whilst nursing a glass of red; or (my preference), whist lolling in a grassy spring meadow during the healthy light of day, where the heartbeat of your own imminent mortality will be only a background murmur against the cacophony of birdsong and wind rustling the trees. It is a meditative collection on the "faithful and virtuous night" of our long-held memories, and the rich beauty, joy, and pain that they hold.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Lawrence

    This is Glück’s best volume since The Wild Iris. Glück’s first four books had an outsized influence on me when I was very young because they elevated an American idiom and adolescent angst into something that felt like real universal wisdom and beauty. In those early poems, Glück speaks with an irresistible command that very often derived from being grafted onto a Biblical or mythological archetype. But with the volume Ararat, the spell was broken. The poems were no longer archetypal but autobio This is Glück’s best volume since The Wild Iris. Glück’s first four books had an outsized influence on me when I was very young because they elevated an American idiom and adolescent angst into something that felt like real universal wisdom and beauty. In those early poems, Glück speaks with an irresistible command that very often derived from being grafted onto a Biblical or mythological archetype. But with the volume Ararat, the spell was broken. The poems were no longer archetypal but autobiographical, and it read as the though the Pythia had plopped herself down on the steps of the Oracle at Delphi and started bitching and moaning about all the slights and fights she had experienced with her mom, her dad, and her big sister. It was a let-down for me as a reader, but I am sure it was a necessary break from the almost feverish, tight lyrical expectations Glück probably felt constrained by at that point in her career. Now she at least had a looser range she could work within. The Wild Iris proved to be the pay-off for allowing herself to work in more than just a portentous lyrical mode since she could alternate from a godly voice, to a defiant but devotional human voice, to the variously fragile and preternaturally pure voices of flowers. It is her crowning achievement and I feel like it will be an enduring volume in the American poetic tradition. Since that volume, Glück has expanded the ways in which she writes volumes to be more narratively focused. She has also tried to incorporate a dry wit into her poetry that I must admit I don’t find half as funny as she seems to think it is. But her narrative impulse has always returned to her initial poetic tendency to allegorize human experience and that hasn’t always felt so natural in the post-Wild Iris volumes. In this volume, though, Glück creates a doppelgänger for herself that is believable and fits into the stark allegorizing tendency in Glück because while he is an aging English artist who was orphaned as a young boy and then he and his brother were raised by an aunt, he is also now facing his final days, and so we get long evocative monologues from basically an Everyman that nevertheless sound believable while not being as self-indulgent were they autobiographical in nature and tone. Somehow this alter ego harkens back to Glück’s early strength to write universal poems about the human condition rather than merely confessional poems about an idiosyncratic personality. The volume also features self-conscious parable prose poems that seem to understand that the inevitable tone parables take is a hard moralizing conclusive tone perfectly suited to Glück’s sensibility. Simultaneously, there is a pervasive softening melancholy that seems resigned that Glück has settled in the rag and bone shop of her final moments as a poet. She has been such a strong presence in American poetry during my lifetime that it is heartbreaking to feel we may not hear much more from her in the coming future: “The Past” Small light in the sky appearing suddenly between two pine boughs, their fine needles now etched onto the radiant surface and above this high, feathery heaven---- Smell the air. That is the smell of the white pine, most intense when the wind blows through it and the sound it makes equally strange, like the sound of the wind in a movie---- Shadows moving. The ropes making the sound they make. What you hear now will be the sound of the nightingale, chordata, the male bird courting the female---- The ropes shift. The hammock sways in the wind, tied firmly between two pine trees. Smell the air. That is the smell of the white pine. It is my mother’s voice you hear or is it only the sound the trees make when the air passes through them because what sound would it make, passing through nothing?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Racheal

    Heartbreaking? Luminous? Charged with wonder? Did I just read same book that's described here? I was, for the most part, underwhelmed. I found it strangely subdued and ultimately forgettable. It's obvious there's supposed to be some narrative thread tying this all together, but it almost completely lacks context and just becomes a series of strange and hard to follow ramblings on memory, aging, emptiness, melancholy. There are definitely nuggets in there, but not enough to sustain me. I've just Heartbreaking? Luminous? Charged with wonder? Did I just read same book that's described here? I was, for the most part, underwhelmed. I found it strangely subdued and ultimately forgettable. It's obvious there's supposed to be some narrative thread tying this all together, but it almost completely lacks context and just becomes a series of strange and hard to follow ramblings on memory, aging, emptiness, melancholy. There are definitely nuggets in there, but not enough to sustain me. I've just read so many things over the last couple of years that made me internally scream "YAAAAAAASS" or that hit me over the head with THIS IS IMPORTANT, or that brought previously foggy ideas and concepts into sharp focus in such mind blowing and achingly beautiful ways. I don't have time for things that don't move me in significant ways anymore, and this just didn't. It makes me think of when I helped to judge a poetry contest at the library, and the adult poems were just SO BORING. The teen poems were often cheesy, but always heartfelt, and often with some really striking insights. The adult ones felt, for the most part, very aloof- sanitized, starched, and hung up to dry. There is no cleverness in the world that can make up for cold, impersonal abstraction imo. So. Nuggets (so I can remember them). Gluck does do a great job of describing the half-remembrances of childhood, holding ambiguity close in a way really works. I like this part of the poem Faithful and Virtuous Night: Constituent memories of a large memory. Points of clarity in a mist, intermittently visible, like a lighthouse whose one task is to emit a signal. But what really is the point of a lighthouse? This is north, it says. Not: I am your safe harbor. There are also a small handful of moments that had me marveling at her turn of phrase: He was a writer. His many novels, at the time, were much praised. One was much like another. And yet his complacency disguised suffering As perhaps my suffering disguised complacency. And then this poem: A Work of Fiction As I turned over the last page, after many nights, a wave of sorrow envel- oped me. Where had they all gone, these people who had seemed so real? To distract myself, I walked out into the night; instinctively, I lit a cigarette. In the dark, the cigarette glowed, like a fire lit by a survivor. But who would see this light, this small dot among the infinite stars? I stood a while in the dark, the cigarette glowing and growing small, each breath patiently de- stroying me. How small it was, how brief. Brief, brief, but inside me now, which the stars could never be. So, nuggets. Just not ENOUGH.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joshie

    A haunting poetry collection about loss drenched in all its frightful beauty and trembling honesty, Faithful and Virtuous Night weaves a subdued narrative with each poetic piece. The lasting memories of childhood deeply press against several dreamlike stanzas while it mourns for what can't ever be grasped nor held again. Adulthood revisits, questions, and affirms. And it reverberates with the ache that pierces in the spaces of its words. Glück magnificently recognises our struggle to reconcile, A haunting poetry collection about loss drenched in all its frightful beauty and trembling honesty, Faithful and Virtuous Night weaves a subdued narrative with each poetic piece. The lasting memories of childhood deeply press against several dreamlike stanzas while it mourns for what can't ever be grasped nor held again. Adulthood revisits, questions, and affirms. And it reverberates with the ache that pierces in the spaces of its words. Glück magnificently recognises our struggle to reconcile, the attempt to interpret the seemingly unacceptable twist of fate and choice; the inevitable end of life; ageing and time. However, Faithful and Virtuous Night becomes palpably intimate enough to be alienating; expansive enough it can amble excessively on some verses. By the end, there are only marks on my skin from its grip; my mouth dry from the words it spoke for my sake. Some excerpts that struck me — — "Constituent memories of a large memory. Points of clarity in a mist, intermittently visible, like a lighthouse whose one task is to emit a signal. But what really is the point of a lighthouse? This is north, it says. Not: I am your safe harbor." — from Faithful and Virtuous Night "The street was white again, all the bushes covered with heavy snow and the trees glittering, encased with ice. I lay in the dark, waiting for the night to end. It seemed the longest night I had ever known, longer than the night I was born. I write about you all the time, I said aloud. Every time I say “I,” it refers to you." — from Visitors from Abroad "Your life is enviable, he said; what must I think of when I cry? And I told him of the emptiness of my days, and of time, which was running out, and of the meaninglessness of my achievement, and as I spoke I had the odd sensation of once more feeling something for another human being—" — from The Melancholy Assistant "Feeling has departed—it occurs to me this would make a fine headstone. But I was wrong to suggest this has occurred before. In fact, I have been hounded by feeling; it is the gift of expression that has so often failed me. Failed me, tormented me, virtually all my life." — from Approach of the Horizon My encounter with Glück was sparse prior, only stumbling upon her once or twice when I needed the embrace and kisses of poetry online. To finally read a collection of hers a little earlier before I heard of her Nobel Prize win is pleasing serendipity. Faithful and Virtuous Night suffices as an introduction to a remarkably graceful contemporary poet. Not part of this collection, Vespers remains my favourite poem of hers.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I'm not writing a review of this one until I can discuss it, but I did read it in November. I'm not writing a review of this one until I can discuss it, but I did read it in November.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    I normally love Louise Gluck's work. It used to be spare and sharp as needles. Unfortunately, in her last two books she seems to have turned more towards an overarching narrative. There is nothing wrong with that per se but narrative demands a different sort of identification than the lyric does and her character development just doesn't warrant it. This books is short but strangely sprawling. It has beautiful moments but I never quite saw an arc, nor did I ever once find myself falling in love I normally love Louise Gluck's work. It used to be spare and sharp as needles. Unfortunately, in her last two books she seems to have turned more towards an overarching narrative. There is nothing wrong with that per se but narrative demands a different sort of identification than the lyric does and her character development just doesn't warrant it. This books is short but strangely sprawling. It has beautiful moments but I never quite saw an arc, nor did I ever once find myself falling in love with its main voice. The end result was disappointing. I had spent several hours with this odd, unhappy narrator and found his ramblings beautiful but pointless.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Hadrian

    Really very different than what I remember reading of her - I've read Averno and Ararat, which dealt with mythological themes as well as trauma and memory. This is a shorter collection of poetry and some prose poems about personal matters: family, death, smoking in the snow. This is an imaginary British countryside for the poetic voice, and it is so different that I had to remember this is still Gluck. From the poem Afterword, which is not at the end of the book: Fate, destiny, whose designs and Really very different than what I remember reading of her - I've read Averno and Ararat, which dealt with mythological themes as well as trauma and memory. This is a shorter collection of poetry and some prose poems about personal matters: family, death, smoking in the snow. This is an imaginary British countryside for the poetic voice, and it is so different that I had to remember this is still Gluck. From the poem Afterword, which is not at the end of the book: Fate, destiny, whose designs and warnings now seem to me simply local symmetries, metonymic baubles within immense confusion — Chaos was what I saw. My brush froze — I could not paint it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adriana Scarpin

    The Sword in the Stone My analyst looked up briefly. Naturally I couldn't see him but I had learned, in our years together, to intuit these movements. As usual, he refused to acknowledge whether or not I was right. My ingenuity versus his evasiveness: our little game. At such moments, I felt the analysis was flourishing: it seemed to bring out in me a sly vivaciousness I was inclined to repress. My analyst's indifference to my performances was now immensely soothing. An intimacy had grown between us like a fo The Sword in the Stone My analyst looked up briefly. Naturally I couldn't see him but I had learned, in our years together, to intuit these movements. As usual, he refused to acknowledge whether or not I was right. My ingenuity versus his evasiveness: our little game. At such moments, I felt the analysis was flourishing: it seemed to bring out in me a sly vivaciousness I was inclined to repress. My analyst's indifference to my performances was now immensely soothing. An intimacy had grown between us like a forest around a castle. The blinds were closed. Vacillating bars of light advanced across the carpeting. Through a small strip above the window sill, I saw the outside world. All this time I had the giddy sensation of floating above my life. Far away that life occurred. But was it still occurring: that was the question. Late summer: the light was fading. Escaped shreds flickered over the potted plants. The analysis was in its seventh year. I had begun to draw again— modest little sketches, occasional three-dimensional constructs modeled on functional objects— And yet, the analysis required much of my time. From what was this time deducted: that was also the question. I lay, watching the window, long intervals of silence alternating with somewhat listless ruminations and rhetorical questions— My analyst, I felt, was watching me. So, in my imagination, a mother stares at her sleeping child, forgiveness preceding understanding. Or, more likely, so my brother must have gazed at me— perhaps the silence between us prefigured this silence, in which everything that remained unspoken was somehow shared. It seemed a mystery. Then the hour was over. I descended as I had ascended; the doorman opened the door. The mild weather of the day had held. Above the shops, striped awnings had unfurled protecting the fruit. Restaurants, shops, kiosks with late newspapers and cigarettes. The insides grew brighter as the outside grew darker. Perhaps the drugs were working? At some point, the streetlights came on. I felt, suddenly, a sense of cameras beginning to turn; I was aware of movement around me, my fellow humans driven by a mindless fetish for action— How deeply I resisted this! It seemed to me shallow and false, or perhaps partial and false— Whereas truth—well, truth as I saw it was expressed as stillness. I walked awhile, staring into the windows of the galleries— my friends had become famous. I could hear the river in the background, from which came the smell of oblivion interlaced with potted herbs from the restaurants— I had arranged to join an old acquaintance for dinner. There he was at our accustomed table; the wine was poured; he was engaged with the waiter, discussing the lamb. As usual, a small argument erupted over dinner, ostensibly concerning aesthetics. It was allowed to pass. Outside, the bridge glittered. Cars rushed back and forth, the river glittered back, imitating the bridge. Nature reflecting art: something to that effect. My friend found the image potent. He was a writer. His many novels, at the time, were much praised. One was much like another. And yet his complacency disguised suffering as perhaps my suffering disguised complacency. We had known each other many years. Once again, I had accused him of laziness. Once again, he flung the word back— He raised his glass and turned it upside-down. This is your purity, he said, this is your perfectionism— The glass was empty; it left no mark on the tablecloth. The wine had gone to my head. I walked home slowly, brooding, a little drunk. The wine had gone to my head, or was it the night itself, the sweetness at the end of summer? It is the critics, he said, the critics have the ideas. We artists (he included me)—we artists are just children at our games.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Edita

    As I turned over the last page, after many nights, a wave of sorrow enveloped me. Where had they all gone, these people who had seemed so real? To distract myself, I walked out into the night; instinctively, I lit a cigarette. In the dark, the cigarette glowed, like a fire lit by a survivor. But who would see this light, this small dot among the infinite stars? I stood awhile in the dark, the cigarette glowing and growing small, each breath patiently destroying me. How small it was, how brief. B As I turned over the last page, after many nights, a wave of sorrow enveloped me. Where had they all gone, these people who had seemed so real? To distract myself, I walked out into the night; instinctively, I lit a cigarette. In the dark, the cigarette glowed, like a fire lit by a survivor. But who would see this light, this small dot among the infinite stars? I stood awhile in the dark, the cigarette glowing and growing small, each breath patiently destroying me. How small it was, how brief. Brief, brief, but inside me now, which the stars could never be.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    “I have been hounded by feeling; it is the gift of expression that has so often failed me. Failed me, tormented me, virtually all my life.” This book brought back memories of a forgotten past, memories of something that I thought was only mist in my head. It made me question myself about my current situation and mourn what I have lost. It was a stab of reality.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tanuj Solanki

    It has come to seem there are no perfect endings. Indeed, there are infinite endings. Or perhaps once one begins, there are only endings. Glück narrates like a short story writer; but then she always complicates the narration with a poetic construct that illuminates the entire field she operates in. Her narration morphs into something that does not need an ending anymore. Her endings are complex, and seemed to me to be happening in the middle -- it was satisfying that way. She ruminates on old ag It has come to seem there are no perfect endings. Indeed, there are infinite endings. Or perhaps once one begins, there are only endings. Glück narrates like a short story writer; but then she always complicates the narration with a poetic construct that illuminates the entire field she operates in. Her narration morphs into something that does not need an ending anymore. Her endings are complex, and seemed to me to be happening in the middle -- it was satisfying that way. She ruminates on old age and death, and seems intent at creating an image of death as a peregrination. Her parents' death and her relationship with her aunt and her brother are talked of in multiple poems, in each of which seasons pass and melancholy acquires a constancy that renders meaning to memories. According to Glück , memories are like distant stars; yet if they were to be looked at as astronomers look at them, the never-ending fire in them would be apparent.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Bautista

    This collection feels like being on an ocean in a little row boat, where to go forward or backward is both the question and the point. I photo-highlighted nearly everything.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Philippe

    If this collection is in any way representative for Glück's oeuvre, I don't seem to take well to her brand of poetry. I had a nagging feeling that I was reading something that was "both deeply fraudulent and profoundly true" (quoting Glück from 'The Melancholy Assistant'). In some poems the balance tips towards the former, in others - such as the generally engaging title piece - truthfulness prevails. Despite occasional flourishes, and valiant attempts at cinemascope renderings of key life event If this collection is in any way representative for Glück's oeuvre, I don't seem to take well to her brand of poetry. I had a nagging feeling that I was reading something that was "both deeply fraudulent and profoundly true" (quoting Glück from 'The Melancholy Assistant'). In some poems the balance tips towards the former, in others - such as the generally engaging title piece - truthfulness prevails. Despite occasional flourishes, and valiant attempts at cinemascope renderings of key life events, I came away with an impression of a writer who has not terribly much to say, or doesn't dare to say what needs to be said.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jee Koh

    I deeply admire Glück's refusal to repeat herself. This new volume works with long poems (the title poem is 10 pages long, and gripping), prose poems, a new persona, that of a male painter who was orphaned as a boy when his parents and sister died in a car accident. Romantic medievalism is at stake in the volume: the boy sees his brother, and other redemptive figures, as a a heroic knight, but he is up against Glück's refusal of redemption. We understand this refusal as Glück's, but why is it th I deeply admire Glück's refusal to repeat herself. This new volume works with long poems (the title poem is 10 pages long, and gripping), prose poems, a new persona, that of a male painter who was orphaned as a boy when his parents and sister died in a car accident. Romantic medievalism is at stake in the volume: the boy sees his brother, and other redemptive figures, as a a heroic knight, but he is up against Glück's refusal of redemption. We understand this refusal as Glück's, but why is it the boy's, and then the adult painter's? Tragedy and trauma is insufficient to explain it. For me, the persona remains, at the end of the book, a glove puppet. Glorious poems, but also niggling doubt. The opening poem "Parable" is tremendous. It should be read and reread in our era of postmodern dogmatism.

  22. 4 out of 5

    John Taylor

    I honestly don't understand how Glück does this. Book after book, each one radically different from the last. And yet that same absolute confidence in the form. The same caliber of craft. The same daring expressed in a myriad of ways. Glück is a part of a small group that proves to me that there are still prophets, and they are still speaking. I honestly don't understand how Glück does this. Book after book, each one radically different from the last. And yet that same absolute confidence in the form. The same caliber of craft. The same daring expressed in a myriad of ways. Glück is a part of a small group that proves to me that there are still prophets, and they are still speaking.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laura Walin

    Poetry, you will always remain a mystery to me. I am not sure whether I would have recognized these texts as poetry , at least not some of them. To me they where rather just shortest stories, flickers of everyday happenings and observations through the eyes of the author. And I definitely would not have been able to grasp why the poetry of Louse Gluck would be worth a Nobel prize over another author. What I was able to observe was that I understood what Gluck was writing - not always a certainty Poetry, you will always remain a mystery to me. I am not sure whether I would have recognized these texts as poetry , at least not some of them. To me they where rather just shortest stories, flickers of everyday happenings and observations through the eyes of the author. And I definitely would not have been able to grasp why the poetry of Louse Gluck would be worth a Nobel prize over another author. What I was able to observe was that I understood what Gluck was writing - not always a certainty when you dwell into a poetry collection, especially in a language not you own mother tongue. The images she paint and the stories she tells make sense in their context. On the other hand, I did not get the collection as a whole. If there was a unifying theme, it escaped me. My shortcoming, I am ready to admit, not hers.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Smith

    Did not finish. Barely made it 25% through. Gluck has been a favorite poet of mine for a while, but this book is really pretty terrible. I have no idea how it won the NBA.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joachim Stoop

    I feel like a jazz freak reviewing a techno album. Not for me...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Wade Z

    I was about to fall asleep, and then I thought, hey, maybe I should check out this year's winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Well. Poetry is something that has been made important in my life principally for performance and academia. For pleasure though? Pleasure isn't the word I would use to describe how this collection flows. Glück has created many works that delve into maybe of the most relevant themes in our 21st century: loss, certainty, independence, mythology, and wraps it all with a I was about to fall asleep, and then I thought, hey, maybe I should check out this year's winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Well. Poetry is something that has been made important in my life principally for performance and academia. For pleasure though? Pleasure isn't the word I would use to describe how this collection flows. Glück has created many works that delve into maybe of the most relevant themes in our 21st century: loss, certainty, independence, mythology, and wraps it all with a somehow aesthetically captivating tone of fatigue. The most interesting thing about this collection is that it sits like an ultra-fibrous granola bar within the stomach of my mind - I don't think I'm quite able to digest it all as of now. I think it's the type of work that will somehow change over the course of one's life. "...It has come to seem there is no perfect ending. Indeed, there are infinite endings. Or perhaps, once one begins, there are only endings."

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Louise Glück is a poet’s poet, I believe. I read this and I am reminded that poetry has always been a sacred profession. In 390 AD, Emperor Theodosius ordered the closure of the Oracle at Delphi, an act of erasure of pagan religions in the name of Christianity. Pythia’s last words are said to have been something like, “Tell the king; the fair wrought house has fallen...The fountains are now silent; the voice is stilled. It is finished.” The tradition lives on here, although the voice is subtle. Louise Glück is a poet’s poet, I believe. I read this and I am reminded that poetry has always been a sacred profession. In 390 AD, Emperor Theodosius ordered the closure of the Oracle at Delphi, an act of erasure of pagan religions in the name of Christianity. Pythia’s last words are said to have been something like, “Tell the king; the fair wrought house has fallen...The fountains are now silent; the voice is stilled. It is finished.” The tradition lives on here, although the voice is subtle. See: Shall I be raised from death, the spirit asks. And the sun says yes. And the desert answers your voice is sand scattered in wind.

  28. 4 out of 5

    cindy

    Glück strings normal words together in strangely incisive ways. I liked the first half of this collection much more than the second, with my favourite being A Sharply Worded Silence . Not changeable, she said, like human beings. I gave up on them, she said. But I never lost my taste for circular voyages. Correct me if I'm wrong. Glück strings normal words together in strangely incisive ways. I liked the first half of this collection much more than the second, with my favourite being A Sharply Worded Silence . Not changeable, she said, like human beings. I gave up on them, she said. But I never lost my taste for circular voyages. Correct me if I'm wrong.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leif

    Word/mist, word/mist: thus it was with me. And yet, my silence was never total–– What could an exquisite line look like if it traced the outward path of life's contact with death? A poem, you could say, but not every work of poetry takes up the task with as much graceful elegance as these poems which know when to stand in the darkness and at which moment to spark up light. In some ways, poetry might concede some peace here, and so it is that family members appear as ghosts to Glück's speakers, pres Word/mist, word/mist: thus it was with me. And yet, my silence was never total–– What could an exquisite line look like if it traced the outward path of life's contact with death? A poem, you could say, but not every work of poetry takes up the task with as much graceful elegance as these poems which know when to stand in the darkness and at which moment to spark up light. In some ways, poetry might concede some peace here, and so it is that family members appear as ghosts to Glück's speakers, present at some kind of linguistic graveyard in which the tracks only lead further from the past: such is what she calls a "crisis of vision" that could be figured as a tree, an obstacle, a gaping hole – an absent twin to the poem's speaker. But peace is not some crisp declaration of sight; rather, it serves as a vacuous cloud of vision the longer that night lasts, a cloud that reveals the light more clearly as well as those particles of memory and substance that yet swirl in it, as if a mind's fog could throw its last objects into better relief.The night progressed. Fog swirled over the lit bulbs. I suppose that is where it was visible; elsewhere, it was simply the way things were, blurred where they had been sharp. Whether this kind of muttering retreat is your thing depends, I suppose, on your capacity for sinking into the night's embrace which is also the natural home of Glück's speakers. Glück calls the feeling a "blankness, that / stepchild of the sublime, // which, it turns out, / has been both my subject and my medium." A bit of a rift here: after all, the marvel of the mist-like words she uses is that they are not – not-quite – blank. Instead its silence prompts visions; in turn, visions might lead to something moving when you are yourself incapable of a step, It was like a religious ceremony in which the congregation stood awaiting, beholding, and that was the entire point, the beholding.The mist always clears, the day breaks, and of course not all of us have the luxury of the elderly poet to swirl glasses of Scotch as the night deepens. For us who sleep instead of dream, the gift given here is that of a nightly mist that does not sacrifice clarity, as in so many lesser poets, but which instead reveals all objects in ever more precise ways. Instead of the night's peace, then, say a reconciliation with the night, and with all its figures. More than this, the important question that follows any disappearance: "The snow-covered cat disappears in the high branches; / O what will I see when I follow?" This is death, naturally. Or, to repeat the question in a different key,Language was filling my head, wild exhilaration alternated with profound despair–– But if the essence of time is change, how can anything become nothing? That was the question I asked myself. At the end of the day, Glück gives here what poetry has always offered: a light in the darkness. In a time of personal despair, that might be enough.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kaeli Wood

    I didn’t like this collection as well as the previous one I’ve read by Gluck, “Ararat,” but it was still full of her characteristic beautiful and melancholy imagery. To me she seems kind of like... Mary Oliver, but depressing. This collection was interesting in how it played with voice, and made me question who the speaker was. It also was full of long poems, which I often don’t like, as it is hard to hold a long poem in your mind and see it as a cohesive whole when you have to flip back several I didn’t like this collection as well as the previous one I’ve read by Gluck, “Ararat,” but it was still full of her characteristic beautiful and melancholy imagery. To me she seems kind of like... Mary Oliver, but depressing. This collection was interesting in how it played with voice, and made me question who the speaker was. It also was full of long poems, which I often don’t like, as it is hard to hold a long poem in your mind and see it as a cohesive whole when you have to flip back several pages. I shouldn’t complain, though, because I do write long poems, so I should get used to reading them. My favourite poems in this volume were “Parable,” “Aboriginal Landscape,” “The White Series” and “A Summer Garden.” “Parable” made me think of Exodus but also of trekking; “A Summer Garden” simply had a lot of very captivating images, especially when “the stiff sheets became / dry white rectangles of moonlight.”

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.