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A Village Life by Louise Glück
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A Village Life

by Louise Glück

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Returning after some decades to a less styptic mode of speech takes courage, or desperation — sometimes finding a new rhythm, however, is like finding a new life. It’s good to see a poet old enough to draw Social Security making new contracts with the language. Unfortunately, Glück doesn’t yet have control of these long measures — the lines are slack, the fictions drowsy and the moments of heightened attention like oases in a broad desert (the poems don’t argue, they merely accumulate). Without the energies of her short lines and sharply drawn moods, she turns out to have an imagination almost as conventional as anyone else’s.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374283745, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:30 -0400)

The eleventh collection by the author of "Averno" and "Ararat" includes the piece "Tributaries," an exploration of a timeless Mediterranean village and the contrast between its natural and architectural elements.

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