Synopses & Reviews
The Wild Iris was written during a ten-week period in the summer of 1991. Louise Glück's first four collections consistently returned to the natural world, to the classical and biblical narratives that arose to explain the phenomena of this world, to provide meaning and to console. Ararat, her fifth book, offered a substitution for the received: a demotic, particularized myth of contemporary family. Now in The Wild Iris, her most important and accomplished collection to date, ecstatic imagination supplants both empiricism and tradition, creating an impassioned polyphonic exchange among the god who "disclose[s]/virtually nothing", human beings who "leave/signs of feeling/everywhere", and a garden where "whatever/returns from oblivion returns/ to find a voice". The poems of this sequence see beyond mortality, the bitter discovery on which individuality depends. "To be one thing/is to be next to nothing", Glück challenges the reader. "Is it enough/only to look inward?" A major poet redefines her task — its thematic obsessions, its stylistic signature — with each volume. Visionary, shrewd, intuitive — and at once cyclical and apocalyptic — The Wild Iris is not a repudiation but a confirmation, an audacious feat of psychic ventriloquism, a fiercely original record of the spirit's obsession with, and awe of, earth.
"There are a few living poets whose new poems one always feels eager to read. Louise Glück ranks at the top of the list. Her writing's emotional and rhetorical intensity are beyond dispute. Not once in six books has she wavered from a formal seriousness, an unhurried sense of control and a starkness of expression that, like a scalpel, slices the mist dwelling between hope and pain." David Biespiel, The Washington Post
"Louise Glück is a poet of strong and haunting presence. Her poems, published in a series of memorable books over the last twenty years, have achieved the unusual distinction of being neither "confessional" nor "Intellectual" in the usual senses of those words, which are often thought to represent two camps in the life of poetry...What a strange book The Wild Iris is, appearing in this fin-de-siecle, written in the language of flowers. It Is a lieder cycle, with all the mournful cadences of that form. It wagers everything on the poetic energy remaining in the old troubadour image of the spring, the Biblical lilies of the field, natural resurrection." Helen Vendler, The New Republic
Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature
From Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Gl ck, a stunningly beautiful collection of poems that encompasses the natural, human, and spiritual realms
Bound together by the universal themes of time and mortality and with clarity and sureness of craft, Louise Gl ck's poetry questions, explores, and finally celebrates the ordeal of being alive.
About the Author
Louise Glück has won the Pulitzer Prize for The Wild Iris in 1993. The author of eight books of poetry andone collection of essays, Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry, she has received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, the William Carlos Williams Award, and the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction. Louise Glück teaches at Williams College and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.