Synopses & Reviews
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.
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.
"Glück 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." Dana Goodyear, Los Angeles Times
"Here is a poet at the unmistakable peak of her expressive power and experience....[A] profound new collection of poems." Carol Muske-Dukes, Huffington Post
"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
"Breathtakingly exact and unsparing, yet gloriously mysterious. By writing of human consciousness as a force of nature like sunlight and wind, Glück articulates life's camouflaged wholeness and sublime intricacy." Booklist
"Intimate and deeply sympathetic." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"A Village Life may come to be seen as Glück's most beautiful and moving book so far....[It] shows a ripening of Glück's genius, her mastery for depicting the things of this earth." Adam Fitzgerald, Rain Taxi
"More than any of Glück'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
About the Author
Louise Glück 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.