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Louise Gluck was born in 1943 in New York and grew up on Long Island. She started her teaching career in 1971 at Goddard College, Vermont. At present she is a Professor at Williams College and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the author of eleven books of poems and a volume of essays. She has won the Pulitzer Prize (for Wild Iris in 1992), the National Book Critics Circle Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, the Bobbitt National Poetry Prize and the Ambassador's Award for her poetry, as well as the PEN / Martha Albrand Award for Non-fiction. Her 2000 collection Vita Nova won the first annual New Yorker Readers Award. In 2009 she delivered the Blashfield Foundation address at the American Academy. Louise Gluck is also a former US Poet Laureate and teaches at Yale University.
Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014. Shortlisted for the 2014 Forward Prize for Best Collection 'At last the night surrounded me; / I floated on it, perhaps in it, / or it carried me as a river carries / a boat'. In Louise Gluck's new collection, night takes on the dimensions of myth, becomes the setting for a sequence of journeys and explorations through time and memory, as the speaker of the poems moves backwards into childhood and forwards into 'the kingdom of death'.
From a fountain where 'all the roads in the village unite', concentric circles expand into the distance: the young and old, fields, a river, a mountain - the fountain's stone counterpart, where the roads end, human time superimposed on geological time. Renowned as a lyrical poet of austere intensity, in A Village Life Louise Gluck evokes a Mediterranean world with luminous precision. Her focus is on moments of speculation and reflection in a dreamlike present tense.
Averno, a crater lake in southern Italy, was for the Romans the entrance to the underworld, both gateway and impassable barrier between the living and the dead. In Louise Gluck's latest collection, Averno is the only source of heat and light in a world turned to icy winter. Ancient myth is reanimated in the desolation of Persephone's laments for the lost warmth of earthly life. Both epic and intimate in scope, Averno explores the enduring drama of love and death.
Louise Gluck has long practised poetry as a species of clairvoyance. She began as Cassandra, at a distance, in league with the immortals. To read her books sequentially is to chart the oracle's metamorphoses into unwilling vessel, reckless, mortal, down-to-earth. The Seven Ages is Gluck's ninth book, one of her strangest and certainly her most bold. In it - like William Blake's mystical Thel - she gazes down at her own death and in so doing forces endless superimpositions of the possible on the impossible. Her act at once defies and embraces the inevitable and is finally mimetic. Over and over, at each wild leap and transformation, flames shoot up the reader's spine. In an essay she writes, one of the revelations of art is the discovery of a tone or perspective at once wholly unexpected and wholly true to a set of materials . This truth to materials -language, occasion, antecedent - is the proof of a poem.
Louise Gluck's collection is a work of ends and beginnings. Her poetry comes in white-hot sequences of passionate intensity. Vita Nova is a sequence of poems which dramatises the end of a relationship and the beginning of a new life. Vibrant, at times anguished, but never resigned, the voices in this collection are a reminder of both the pleasure and pain which accompany all our relationships. Gluck manages an act of perspective that brings into resolution the smallest human Hope and the vast forces that shape and thwart it.
Includes Penelope's Song in which the author interweaves in a book-length sequence an account of the dissolution of a contemporary marriage with the story of Homer's Odyssey. This collection of poetry also explores the notion of the nostos, the homecoming.
The poems in this collection are written in the language of flowers. Louise Gluck received the Pulitzer Prize for The Wild Iris in 1993, and has also received the National Book Critics Award for Poetry and the Poetry Society of America's Melville Kane Award.