Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Meadowlands” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  626 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Louise Glück sows the fertile subject ground of marital discord in harvesting this crop of gems. The poems zing back and forth as the verses alternate between man and woman. "Flaubert had more friends and Flaubert was a recluse" says he, followed by her response, "Flaubert was crazy; he lived with his mother," In one scene they argue over dead French writers; later they di ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published May 1st 1997 by Ecco (first published 1996)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Meadowlands, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Meadowlands

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 959)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I recently read Gluck's "The Wild Iris" and loved her use of language and her turn of phrase, along with her ability to stick the knife in, mid-stanza, with some incisive comment about the human condition. "Meadowlands," her follow-up to "The Wild Iris," has the same pretense, but I found it a lot less satisfying. First, I have a problem in general with folks who feel the need to write extensively about historic works of art, whether it be ancient mythology, or Breugel, or, as is the case here, ...more
Not so much. I love the Odyssey and I love Gluck, but somehow this collection fell flat. The most powerful poems were from Telemachus' perspective. But where does Telemachus fit in to the weaving of the couples now and then? Do we ever hear something from the modern day children's perspective? The snappy bickering between the modern couple doesn't ultimately seem to echo between Penelope and Odysseus. What do the "meadowlands" relate to in the ancient, mythic world? Elysian fields??? This collec ...more
I'm usually not a big fan of Gluck. Her pastoral poetry doesn't do it for me and is not the style I swoon to. This book resonated with me, though. Perhaps it is because it describes a failing relationship with brief interjections from the child who deals/suffers with it. It's like reading this was looking into a mirror of my life throughout high school. Only I was the one with wanderlust.
Meadowlands is first and foremost a collection of poems about the fine art of practicing patience, or the lack thereof. Using the myth of the Odyssey, Gluck emphasizes Penelope's stubborn patience at her loom waiting for Odysseus to return, and Telemachus' impatience with his father and the dalliances he's had on his long journey home. Interwoven with the mythic poems are poems of a more modern relationship, spoken in two voices as a marriage slowly dissolves and the husband and wife begin to lo ...more
While not as great as its immediate predecessor, "The Wild Iris," nor as unified of the more recent "A Village Life," this collection holds together as it plays the bickering of a contemporary couple off the imagined musings of Penelope and Odysseus. The alternation lends some weight to the modern couple and humanizes the mythic, forcing our reflections on love, desire, marriage, men, women. But the best poems are those told in Telemachus' voice, which are often hilarious. They suggest a kind of ...more
I'm not going to do this book justice, because of the way it's written, but I'm going to try.

Basically, this is a poem cycle based on the relationship between Penelope and Odysseus from The Odyssey, except it's a relationship placed in modern times which refers to events that happened about a decade ago. This is a post-Odyssey recollection, but the poems move around in time and perspective (some poems shift back and forth between Penelope and Odysseus); some of the funniest, in fact, are from th
Gluck blends the Greek myth of Odysseus (a waiting Penelope, what happens once Odysseus returns) with a contemporary disintegrating marriage, varying narrators.

Telemachus tells us a couple of things about his parents ("sometimes inclining to/ _husband and wife,_ other times/ to _opposing forces_"), and we also hear straight dialogue between the contemporary couple (One person says, "One thing I've always hated/ about you: I hate that you refuse/ to have people at the house. Flaubert/ had more f
Grace Bruenderman
Aug 27, 2007 Grace Bruenderman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mythology/persona poetry geeks
Shelves: poetrees
oh. god. so.... grood. great and grood. This is a book of persona poetry written from the perspective of Penelope, Odysseus, and Telemachus. It's lovely. While these three voices tell of the hard-to-hold relationship between Penny and Ody, Gluck peppers persona poems by a modern day man and woman whose marriage is falling apart. The modern couple and the ancient greek couple's romances and thoughts parallel each other in a way that makes your mouth do a little drop. Gluck's style is heavy, and y ...more
Nic Sebastian
Well, call me a Philistine but I found this disappointing. I liked the concept – weaving the story and characters of The Odyssey into the story of a deteriorated contemporary marriage – but never felt sucked in by the treatment.

The language is quiet and prose-y, and the whole has much the air of a meditation. Plenty of interesting insights and well-observed commentary, but it was the sort of stuff I found myself reading and appreciating with my head – not much about the language that hooked me e
If you want to study beautiful examples of the modern persona poem, alive and well, Meadowlands is a great place to start. It's also just a really good read.
Sarah Evans
A really nice mix of lucid and beautiful
"Such a mistake to want / clarity above all things. What's / a single night, especially / one like this, now so close to ending? / On the other side, there could be anything, / all the joy in the world, the stars fading, / the streetlight becoming a bus stop."

The restorative powers of an allowed metamorphosis, the letting go, and the acceptance that things will not always resolve, become clear. How empowering this all is, when one struggles to comprehend and finally absorbs these ideas into thei
I read this collection for a class, and although I don't understand poetry the greatest, there definitely were a few that spoke to me and that I found to be really nice. All in all, this collection was pretty great.
I picked this one because I was looking at The Wild Iris and not paying strict attention. And, to be honest, I probably wasn't paying strict attention while I read it.

But also, I think poetry should grab you - that's not unreasonable, right? Good writing makes you care, makes you ask for more. I didn't ask for more. There were a couple of highlights - a couple of good lines or couplets - and the collection is generally witty and rigorous, but in this instance that's not enough.
Linen-calm poems. Double story: of Odysseus's homecoming and of a crumbling modern marriage. (Doesn't it seem like all of Louise Gluck's old poems were about an awful marriage too? I don't get it.) She's so sensible -- calm voice, poems that feel like three-medium-breaths -- that it doesn't get violent or horrible or attention-getting. But I also wasn't clobbered by many of the poems, and I wish I had been. The best: Telemachus's monologues.
Gluck in a satisfyingly spiky mode, especially in poems like "Purple Bathing Suit." A new wryness and humor entered her work for the first time with this book, which functions as comic opera about the dissolution of a marriage. The cross-cutting to moments from the Odyssey is mostly shrewd and quite effective as juxtaposition and commentary on the timelessness of domestic and relationship issues.
Dang, I love smart women. Keen edge & capacious glimpse onto the history (and demise) of a marriage, via the frame/backdrop of the Odyssey. If you aren't familiar with Homer's Odyssey, don't let that put you off of this poetry collection--if you look up some basic info about it you will be able to access Gluck's poems without any problems. Super. Fierce. Woman. Poet.
I picked this up as a possible source for a term paper in 2008. I knew a few poems in that it wouldn't work out, but I liked enough of what I read to finish it.
Sadly, I can't remember any more of what I thought while reading this. I distinctly recall loving a few of the lines, but nothing really stands out for me now. My own rating from 2008 gives this a 4/5.
Mads P.
I didn't like this one even half as much as The Wild Iris. The theme of marriage with a mythological bent (character's from the Odyssey) just didn't capture my imagination and a lot of the poems felt flat. My favorite poem was "Cana". Circe's poem's were powerful...but I keep wanting more of what I found in The Wild Iris and I'm not finding it.
This may be one of my favorite books of poetry of all time. And not because the language is exceptionally fresh, or because it's images at their finest hour, and metaphors like a full meal - but because it's real (even in the myth).

Review here:
Basically my thoughts of this book were part of my review of the Odyssey. I loved this. A favorite little gem called 'Telemacchus' Detachment': "When I was a child looking/ at my parents' lives, you know/ what I thought? I thought/ heartbreaking. Now I think/ heartbreaking, but also/insane. Also/ very funny." <33
Does it matter where the birds go? Does it even matter
what species they are?
They leave here, that’s the point,
first their bodies, then their sad cries.
And from that moment, cease to exist for us.

You must learn to think of our passion that way.
Each kiss was real, then
each kiss left the face of the earth.
I adore the Odyssey threads, and "Circe's Power" and "Penelope's Song" alone are worth a book. The contemporary (personal?) ones drew me out of my reading, if only because a) I don't think of love the same way and b) I want such a wise and fine speaker to have an easier time in the world.
James Murphy
This is a reread spurred by a yen to read some Homer and priming myself to read the Lattimore translation of Iliad. Meadowlands is a modern retelling of The Odyssey and concerns the disintegration of a family in New Jersey.
Meaghan E
Ah, the divorce poetry. Wonderfully spry and witty with beautiful parallels to the Odyssey. While Pope could cut your head off with a couplet, Gluck can cut it off with clipped dialogue and perspectives. Brilliant.
Poems on the disintegration of a marriage, sometimes set in the modern day, other times revolving around the myth of Odysseus. My favorites were the bitter dialogue poems--too real.
Nov 08, 2007 Matt rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of poetry and greek mythology
Shelves: poetry, recommended
My favorite book by Louise. I especially like "Circe's Torment", it has such strong imagery. A clever use of Greek mythology to describe a marriage in trouble. Highly recommended.
I liked these poems though didn't love them. I enjoyed how she used characters of Odysseus to parallel her life and examine subject matters.
Jul 27, 2007 Jenni rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poets
My favorite collection of Gluck's. Themes of marriage, allusions to Odyssey. Gives characters like Circe a voice. Excellent.
I very nice collection using the Odyssey to parallel a collapsing marriage. My favorite poems was "Parable of a King"
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 31 32 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Country Between Us
  • Say Uncle
  • Human Wishes
  • In the Western Night: Collected Poems, 1965-1990
  • What the Living Do: Poems
  • Sweet Machine
  • Trilogy: The Walls Do Not Fall / Tribute to the Angels / The Flowering of the Rod
  • Middle Earth: Poems
  • Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003
  • Death Tractates
  • The Great Fires
  • Reasons for Moving / Darker / The Sargentville Notebook
  • Smoke
  • Cocktails
  • The Clerk's Tale: Poems
  • Incarnadine: Poems
  • The City in Which I Love You
  • Field Work
Glück was born in New York City of Hungarian Jewish heritage and grew up on Long Island. Glück attended Sarah Lawrence College and later Columbia University.

Glück is the author of twelve books of poetry, including: "A Village Life" (2009); Averno (2006), which was a finalist for The National Book Award; The Seven Ages (2001); Vita Nova (1999), which was awarded The New Yorker's Book Award in Poetr
More about Louise Glück...
The Wild Iris Averno The First Four Books of Poems Ararat Vita Nova

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Little soul, little perpetually undressed one,
do now as I bid you, climb
the shelf-like branches of the spruce tree;
wait at the top, attentive, like
a sentry or look-out. He will be home soon;
it behooves you to be
generous. You have not been completely
perfect either; with your troublesome body
you have done things you shouldn’t
discuss in poems. Therefore
call out to him over the open water, over the bright water
with your dark song, with your grasping,
unnatural song—passionate,
like Marie Callas. Who
wouldn’t want you? Whose most demonic appetite
could you possibly fail to answer? Soon
he will return from wherever he goes in the meantime,
suntanned from his time away, wanting
his grilled chicken. Ah, you must greet him,
you must shake the boughs of the tree
to get his attention,
but carefully, carefully, lest
his beautiful face be marred
by too many falling needles.”
More quotes…