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A Village Life

by

A Village Life Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Though it resembles her others least, A Village Life may come to be seen as Gluck's most beautiful and moving book so far. One can't dwell too long on the volume's length, nor waste time fishing through the poems to notice the threads of the fabric stocked with unusual diction. 'Compared to the sun, all the fires here / are short-lived, amateurish.' Amateurish? Though not such a strange word in 2009, these types of phrases planted furtively in A Village Life are peculiarly contemporary for the timeless, quasi-mythic spaces Gluck creates." Adam Fitzerald, Rain Taxi (read the entire Rain Taxi review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A Village Life, Louise Gluck'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.

Gluck 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 Gluck'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.

Review:

"Pulitzer Prize — winner Gluck's 11th collection is set in an unidentified rural hill town somewhere in the Mediterranean. Less narrative than it is impressionistic, the book takes its undulating shape from natural cycles — the obvious but nonetheless awesome impact of days and seasons changing. Gluck has shown herself to be an astute, heartbreaking and often funny observer of everyday violence. In poems like 'At the River' and 'Marriage,' she tracks life's messy movement from innocence and curiosity through lust, loss, anger and resignation. However, the relationships she studies are as much to the land — with its single, looming mountain, worked fields and increasingly dried-up river — as between individuals. Gluck's achievement in this collection is to show, through the exigencies of the place she has chosen, how interpersonal relationships are formed, shaped and broken by the particular landscape in which they unfurl. Though the poems are intimate and deeply sympathetic, there remains the suggestion of a distance between Gluck and the village life she writes about. When she declaims, 'No one really understands/ the savagery of this place,' it feels as though she is speaking less about her chosen subjects than about herself. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Gluck stands at the center of time and speaks not with raw emotion or linguistic abandon, but with the ageless urgency of questions about the soul." Partisan Review

Synopsis:

Gluck's 11th collection of poems begins in the topography of a Mediterranean village. Although her writing style is novelistic, the poet focuses not on action but on pauses and intervals meant for reflection.

Synopsis:

A Village Life, Louise Glücks 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 fountains 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 Glücks 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.

Synopsis:

A Village Life, Louise Gluck'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.

Gluck 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 Gluck'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.

Louise Gluck is the author of eleven books of poems and a collection of essays. Her many awards include the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Bollingen Prize, and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. She teaches at Yale University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A National Book Critics Circle Award FinalistShortlisted for Griffin Poetry Prize

A Village Life, Louise Gluck'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. Gluck 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 Gluck'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.

When I tell you that Louise Gluck's A Village Life is a book of poems set in a quietly dying agricultural community, probably in Italy, probably some time between the 1950s and today, and that its plots--for it works very much like a collection of linked short stories--revolve around sexual awakening, farm work and old men gossiping in cafes, you will no doubt think: wistful, polite, conservative, the poetic equivalent of a landscape done in watercolor. But that would be dead wrong, as a poem titled 'Pastoral' makes clear. Though it opens with an image, gentle enough, of the sun coming up over a mountain on a misty morning, 'Pastoral' swiftly turns severe: 'The sun burns its way through, / like the mind defeating stupidity.' Then, as the meadow we expect from the title is revealed, the speaker of the poem declares, 'No one really understands / the savagery of this place, / the way it kills people for no reason, / just to keep in practice.' Not many poets can be electrifying while keeping the stakes this hypothermically low. Gluck is a master, finely calibrating the shocks and their intervals. This collection, her 11th, is frightening the way a living statue would be frightening if it were to smile at you . . . Ordinariness is part of the risk of these poems; in them, Gluck hazards, and dodges, sentimentality. The near miss makes us shiver. It is typical of Gluck--whose exquisite 1992 book The Wild Iris was composed mostly of dramatic monologues delivered by the flowers and weeds in a Northeastern garden--that she has created a coherent world here, with loosely connected characters operating in a discrete physical environment. The primary mise-en-scene of A Village Life takes place around a fountain, described in the poem 'Tributaries' as the orienting point where ' a]ll the roads in the village unite.' The fountain is a potent symbol for creativity, renewal and even, as Gluck's choice of verb suggests, the center of the universe. It is a setting brimming with received meaning. Her deflating, laconic wit sets to work on this almost at once.--Dana Goodyear, Los Angeles Times

In A Village Life, Louise Gluck presents us with a choir of voices whose song enacts and contemplates our human quest for the very happiness that--as if instinctively--we refuse. The result is a restlessness that seems never to leave us, as Gluck suggests in 'In the Cafe': 'It's natural to be tired of earth./When you've been dead this long, you'll probably be tired of heaven./You do what you can do in a place/but after a while you exhaust that place, /so you long for rescue.' This clarity of wisdom everywhere punctuates these poems which, even as they concern restlessness, are cast in long lines shot through with imagery of pristine, archetypal simplicity producing a cinematic stillness; one thinks of the camera in a Bergman film. The tension between that stillness and the subject of restlessness produces a resonance that builds even as it shifts like thought, like the light and dark that constantly fall across the village itself. As for the village, it seems ultimately to be the human spirit itself, replete with hopes realized and dashed, dreams without resolution, memories to which we return, often enough, to our regret, and too late. A Village Life is a tour-de-force of imagination and artistry, and shows Gluck putting her considerable powers to new challenges.--The Griffin Trust

Though it resembles her others least, A Village Life may come to be seen as Gluck's most beautiful and moving book so far . . . It] shows a ripening of Gluck's genius, her mastery for depicting the things of this earth . . . and] can be seen as the work of a master poet who has done what many poets long to do: she has written about death immortally.--Adam Fitzgerald, Rain Taxi

A Village Life magnificently extends the landscapes, the harmonics, and the dramatis personae of Averno . . . More than any of Gluck's previous volumes, A Village Life has a generous heart, a large spiritual scope in which to imagine the lives of others.--Rosanna Warren, The New Republic

Here is a poet at the unmistakable peak of her expressive power and experience . . . The characters in A Village Life do what the voice tells them. 'It says forget, you forget. / It says begin again, you begin again.' Louise Gluck begins again, unforgettably, in this profound new collection of poems.--Carol Muske-Dukes, Huffington Post

This 11th book of verse by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Gluck offers beautiful language with a sense of loss and disappointment . . . The poems in A Village Life combine the intensity of her early work and the longer lines and insight of more recent books. The writing is often hauntingly beautiful . . . There are stanzas where Gluck makes her landscape seem so radiant or exquisite that you don't want to turn the page.--Elizabeth Lund, Christian Science Monitor

Like Cavafy's persona pieces, the real subject of these poems is often a particular mood, not the transmission of details that distinguish, say, a child's voice from a farmer's . . . Gluck lets us hear the silence that follows in the confessional. In my favorite poems in A Village Life, she also shows us what one who has heard that silence can now say.--Zach Savich, Kenyon Review

Louise Gluck is one of America's most famous poets, and one of the best . . . The fictions here are really a pretext for Gluck to stage poems that explore, for the first time, material that is neither explicitly her own biography nor that of her mythical stand-ins. Always at the mercy of the Greek gods that inspired her earlier poems, Gluck now is playing God herself.--Morgan Teicher, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

About the Author

Louise Gluck is the author of eleven books of poems and a collection of essays. Her many awards include the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Bollingen Prize, and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. She teaches at Yale University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374283742
Author:
Gluck, Louise
Publisher:
Farrar Straus Giroux
Author:
gl
Author:
uuml
Author:
Louise Gl
Author:
&
Author:
ck, Louise
Author:
K C
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
General Poetry
Subject:
Single Author / American
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20090931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
80
Dimensions:
9.26 x 6.41 x 0.54 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

A Village Life New Hardcover
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Product details 80 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374283742 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Pulitzer Prize — winner Gluck's 11th collection is set in an unidentified rural hill town somewhere in the Mediterranean. Less narrative than it is impressionistic, the book takes its undulating shape from natural cycles — the obvious but nonetheless awesome impact of days and seasons changing. Gluck has shown herself to be an astute, heartbreaking and often funny observer of everyday violence. In poems like 'At the River' and 'Marriage,' she tracks life's messy movement from innocence and curiosity through lust, loss, anger and resignation. However, the relationships she studies are as much to the land — with its single, looming mountain, worked fields and increasingly dried-up river — as between individuals. Gluck's achievement in this collection is to show, through the exigencies of the place she has chosen, how interpersonal relationships are formed, shaped and broken by the particular landscape in which they unfurl. Though the poems are intimate and deeply sympathetic, there remains the suggestion of a distance between Gluck and the village life she writes about. When she declaims, 'No one really understands/ the savagery of this place,' it feels as though she is speaking less about her chosen subjects than about herself. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Though it resembles her others least, A Village Life may come to be seen as Gluck's most beautiful and moving book so far. One can't dwell too long on the volume's length, nor waste time fishing through the poems to notice the threads of the fabric stocked with unusual diction. 'Compared to the sun, all the fires here / are short-lived, amateurish.' Amateurish? Though not such a strange word in 2009, these types of phrases planted furtively in A Village Life are peculiarly contemporary for the timeless, quasi-mythic spaces Gluck creates." (read the entire Rain Taxi review)
"Review" by , "Gluck stands at the center of time and speaks not with raw emotion or linguistic abandon, but with the ageless urgency of questions about the soul."
"Synopsis" by , Gluck's 11th collection of poems begins in the topography of a Mediterranean village. Although her writing style is novelistic, the poet focuses not on action but on pauses and intervals meant for reflection.
"Synopsis" by ,

A Village Life, Louise Glücks 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 fountains 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 Glücks 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.

"Synopsis" by , A Village Life, Louise Gluck'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.

Gluck 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 Gluck'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.

Louise Gluck is the author of eleven books of poems and a collection of essays. Her many awards include the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Bollingen Prize, and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. She teaches at Yale University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A National Book Critics Circle Award FinalistShortlisted for Griffin Poetry Prize

A Village Life, Louise Gluck'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. Gluck 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 Gluck'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.

When I tell you that Louise Gluck's A Village Life is a book of poems set in a quietly dying agricultural community, probably in Italy, probably some time between the 1950s and today, and that its plots--for it works very much like a collection of linked short stories--revolve around sexual awakening, farm work and old men gossiping in cafes, you will no doubt think: wistful, polite, conservative, the poetic equivalent of a landscape done in watercolor. But that would be dead wrong, as a poem titled 'Pastoral' makes clear. Though it opens with an image, gentle enough, of the sun coming up over a mountain on a misty morning, 'Pastoral' swiftly turns severe: 'The sun burns its way through, / like the mind defeating stupidity.' Then, as the meadow we expect from the title is revealed, the speaker of the poem declares, 'No one really understands / the savagery of this place, / the way it kills people for no reason, / just to keep in practice.' Not many poets can be electrifying while keeping the stakes this hypothermically low. Gluck is a master, finely calibrating the shocks and their intervals. This collection, her 11th, is frightening the way a living statue would be frightening if it were to smile at you . . . Ordinariness is part of the risk of these poems; in them, Gluck hazards, and dodges, sentimentality. The near miss makes us shiver. It is typical of Gluck--whose exquisite 1992 book The Wild Iris was composed mostly of dramatic monologues delivered by the flowers and weeds in a Northeastern garden--that she has created a coherent world here, with loosely connected characters operating in a discrete physical environment. The primary mise-en-scene of A Village Life takes place around a fountain, described in the poem 'Tributaries' as the orienting point where ' a]ll the roads in the village unite.' The fountain is a potent symbol for creativity, renewal and even, as Gluck's choice of verb suggests, the center of the universe. It is a setting brimming with received meaning. Her deflating, laconic wit sets to work on this almost at once.--Dana Goodyear, Los Angeles Times

In A Village Life, Louise Gluck presents us with a choir of voices whose song enacts and contemplates our human quest for the very happiness that--as if instinctively--we refuse. The result is a restlessness that seems never to leave us, as Gluck suggests in 'In the Cafe': 'It's natural to be tired of earth./When you've been dead this long, you'll probably be tired of heaven./You do what you can do in a place/but after a while you exhaust that place, /so you long for rescue.' This clarity of wisdom everywhere punctuates these poems which, even as they concern restlessness, are cast in long lines shot through with imagery of pristine, archetypal simplicity producing a cinematic stillness; one thinks of the camera in a Bergman film. The tension between that stillness and the subject of restlessness produces a resonance that builds even as it shifts like thought, like the light and dark that constantly fall across the village itself. As for the village, it seems ultimately to be the human spirit itself, replete with hopes realized and dashed, dreams without resolution, memories to which we return, often enough, to our regret, and too late. A Village Life is a tour-de-force of imagination and artistry, and shows Gluck putting her considerable powers to new challenges.--The Griffin Trust

Though it resembles her others least, A Village Life may come to be seen as Gluck's most beautiful and moving book so far . . . It] shows a ripening of Gluck's genius, her mastery for depicting the things of this earth . . . and] can be seen as the work of a master poet who has done what many poets long to do: she has written about death immortally.--Adam Fitzgerald, Rain Taxi

A Village Life magnificently extends the landscapes, the harmonics, and the dramatis personae of Averno . . . More than any of Gluck's previous volumes, A Village Life has a generous heart, a large spiritual scope in which to imagine the lives of others.--Rosanna Warren, The New Republic

Here is a poet at the unmistakable peak of her expressive power and experience . . . The characters in A Village Life do what the voice tells them. 'It says forget, you forget. / It says begin again, you begin again.' Louise Gluck begins again, unforgettably, in this profound new collection of poems.--Carol Muske-Dukes, Huffington Post

This 11th book of verse by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Gluck offers beautiful language with a sense of loss and disappointment . . . The poems in A Village Life combine the intensity of her early work and the longer lines and insight of more recent books. The writing is often hauntingly beautiful . . . There are stanzas where Gluck makes her landscape seem so radiant or exquisite that you don't want to turn the page.--Elizabeth Lund, Christian Science Monitor

Like Cavafy's persona pieces, the real subject of these poems is often a particular mood, not the transmission of details that distinguish, say, a child's voice from a farmer's . . . Gluck lets us hear the silence that follows in the confessional. In my favorite poems in A Village Life, she also shows us what one who has heard that silence can now say.--Zach Savich, Kenyon Review

Louise Gluck is one of America's most famous poets, and one of the best . . . The fictions here are really a pretext for Gluck to stage poems that explore, for the first time, material that is neither explicitly her own biography nor that of her mythical stand-ins. Always at the mercy of the Greek gods that inspired her earlier poems, Gluck now is playing God herself.--Morgan Teicher, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

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