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Vita Nova

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  567 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
Since, 1990, Louise Glück has been exploring a form that is, according to poet Robert Hass, her invention. Vita Nova -- like its immediate predecessors, a book-length sequence -- combines the ecstatic utterance of The Wild Iris with the worldly dramas elaborated in Meadowlands. Vita Nova is a book that exists in the long moment of spring, a book of deaths and beginnings, r ...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published March 6th 2001 by Ecco (first published 1999)
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(showing 1-30)
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Aug 15, 2014 Hadrian rated it really liked it
Shelves: american, poetry
"Life is very weird, no matter how it ends, /
very filled with dreams. Never /
will I forget your face, your frantic human eyes /
swollen with tears. /
I thought my life was over and my heart was broken. /
Then I moved to Cambridge."

When I first read Glück's poetry, I was impressed by the force and clarity of her images, as well as hear weaving of myth and personal emotion. There is plenty of that here, but I also got the sense that Glück enjoys playing with these languid structures and would happi
Sep 09, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
In Vita Nova, Louise Glück returns to her most common themes: Love and Death...
Surely spring has been returned to me, this time
not as a lover but a messenger of death, yet
it is still spring, it is still meant tenderly.
- Vita Nova I (pg. 2)

Brutal to love,
more brutal to die.
And brutal beyond the reaches of justice
to die of love.
- The Queen of Carthage (pg. 5)

I was afraid of love, of being taken away.
Everyone afraid of love is afraid of death.
- Timor Mortis (pg. 15)

Throughout th
Courtney Johnston
Surely spring has been returned to me, this time
not as a lover but a messenger of death, yet
it is still spring, it is meant tenderly.

A slim little book that circles around death, and loss, particularly women loved and forsaken or lost: the voice of the poet herself (presumably), mixed with that of Eurydice, Dido, Penelope, and the men that left them; Aeneas who has enough love already in the very blood that runs in his veins; Orpheus (I have lost my Eurydice, / I have lost my lover, / and sudden
Aug 04, 2009 Nicola rated it really liked it
On the hierarchy of her own work, I'd put this collection between "The Wild Iris" and "Seven Ages." Not quite her best, but not my least favorite either. Moments of utter brilliance. Moments that felt a little more stagey. Also, an unexpected humor in parts that felt wry after so much of Gluck's trademark intensity: from "Condo:" "...I hate / When your own dreams treat you as stupid," from "Mutable Earth:" "In the bathtub, I examine my body / We're supposed to do that." Noticed the constant upwa ...more
Dec 15, 2007 W.B. rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
This is my favorite Gluck book of those I've read (not nearly all). I don't know what my favorite is among those I have not read yet. I love the fun she has with the lyric tradition. People so often misread her as this uber-sincere, confessional writer, when I think she actually skewers the personal lyric tradition more cogently and hilariously than so many avant-garde poets (who tend to be much more ham-fisted in their attacks). The way she gets herself out of this collection (the final poem) i ...more
Jul 09, 2014 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Need to reread this before I make any decisions about how I feel about this. Obviously not as good as The Wild Iris, but still good.
Oct 20, 2015 Chaneli rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
louise gluck completely has my heart. i love this collection so much that i just want to carry it with me forever.
Jun 29, 2008 Hope rated it really liked it
This was suggested to me when I asked for books and poetry about breakups that honored the former sweetheart as well as the process of getting over the end of a very good relationship.

This books filled that bill, but not the way I really expected it to. The poems focused on the first person, and the narrator's journey, both inner and outer. This is a book that'll bear re-reading. All the poems spoke to me, but I couldn't always make out the message.
Alicia B.
Feb 19, 2008 Alicia B. rated it it was amazing
This is one book of poetry I will never, ever ever depart with. I love it so much!
Feb 02, 2014 Janine rated it it was amazing
Change what you see..One of my favorite books of poetry by Louise Gluck.
Aug 02, 2007 Jane rated it it was amazing
title poem from this collection is amaaaaazing
Sep 18, 2013 Katie rated it really liked it
I like rereading Gluck.
Sep 02, 2009 Leanna rated it it was ok
Different form/content from her other books that I've read--several poems use a question/answer format, and dreams and abstraction strike me as her new themes.

Interesting epigram--"The master said you must write what you see / But what I see does not move me / The master answered Change what you see." I'm wondering if her restlessness with her typical subjects (as alluded to by this epigram) is what prompted the focus on more abstract content and more interior content (dreams).

An intensely unhap
Nov 27, 2009 Jenna rated it it was ok
This line hurt me: "You changed me, you should remember me." The poem "Unwritten Law," although nothing super-duper-fresh or astonishingly original, also struck a chord with me.

Gluck is a master of colloquial language and the stream-of-consciousness mode. Her lines dance nimbly, very nimbly, between loosely connected thoughts; she skates with ease between past and present, dream and reality, inner life and outer life, all while maintaining an appealing comprehensibility/accessibility. (By the wa
alyssa carver
Oct 05, 2008 alyssa carver rated it liked it
having just reread all of my gluck collection, i understand now why this one is my least favorite of her volumes although it contains several of my favorite poems. partly, it is the language. there is much of her famous stiffness here, and lines that should feel profound are forced, begin to feel like platitude. i believe now that stiffness is due to this work being her most anguished. in truth i do not understand this whole collection, what exactly is holding it together, and my favorite poems ...more
Dec 01, 2008 Jude rated it really liked it
the review says it best, so i'll clip it:

These are poems of rebirth, but of a particular kind--not of hope, and certainly not of youth, but of something far more important: poetry itself. In "The Nest," as Glück emerges from her grief, she feels her mind once again engage with the world, thinking "first, I love it. / Then, I can use it."

there is a true journal feel to Gluck - that may be part of why i love her so. she is willing to stay with and come back to and punch through things i can rarely
Edmund Davis-Quinn
May 09, 2014 Edmund Davis-Quinn rated it liked it
Shelves: own, poetry
Breezed through this at Bull Moose trying to decide if I wanted to buy it. I have liked Gluck in the past so going to try to read it again when I have better awareness.
May 31, 2015 Genevieve rated it really liked it
Crushing. I think I will never forget "And you in your wisdom and cruelty
gradually taught me the meaninglessness of that term" among other things.
Apr 19, 2016 Kristin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2016
Read this in one sitting. Is it my favourite Gluck? Maybe. Spring: renewal, death, rebirth. Appropriate to me right now in my life.
Mads P.
Mar 01, 2008 Mads P. rated it liked it
This is a a collection of poems by my favorite poet Louise Gluck. While there are some good things to think about, for me it doesn't come close to her collection of poems, Wild Iris, which she won the Pulitzer Prize for.

There are a lot of references to mythology in here, and I needed a reference by me. I generally don't like when poems refer to other literature. A poem should be able to stand on it's own.

The poems had a conversational tone.

There were a couple of gems in here though: "Aubade" an
Sep 08, 2014 Helen rated it it was amazing
Vita Nova is a book of poems about loss, and the birth of new beginnings that springs from loss. Using the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Gluck crafts poems that are relevant and ring true for the reader in an elegant metaphor. A great little book of poems for anyone who has been touched by death or heartbreak.
Doralee Brooks
Apr 09, 2014 Doralee Brooks rated it it was amazing
The title poem is a killer, especially the last line, ironic, funny, and wise.
Aug 08, 2013 Hundeschlitten rated it really liked it
I love Louise Gluck. She might have displaced Philip Levine as my favorite contemporary poet. This volume has its flaws: Too many allusions to Greek mythology, for instance, which, at least for me, distracts from the elemental power of Gluck's verse. And this volume runs a little too thick with self-pity. But some of the lines are great. And the poems build on themselves around interrelated themes, primary among them remembrance and personal loss.
Isaac Timm
Jun 21, 2013 Isaac Timm rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2013
Many of these poems are deep in mythology. I thought I had a good grasp of Greek and Roman mythology but half the inferences left me scratching my head like Homer Simpson. As always Louise Gluck imagery is amazing. My favorite poem in this collect was "Lament." Guess I'll have to read the Aeneid, and after that give this collection another go. ...more
Christina Rau
Aug 28, 2015 Christina Rau rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
I can see why Gluck was the Poet Laureate of the U. S. Some of her poems made me go, wow. Not in all caps, but still a little wow. It was a very quick read. The drawback: it's predictable. After a while, I was like, I've heard this before. It's good poetry, don't get me wrong, but it's good poetry that we know as good poetry.

Sep 21, 2009 C rated it really liked it
Shelves: buy-this, 2010
Some jumped out at me more, but she uses words that seem too big for poetry. Can't decide how I feel, torn because of her great acclaim and my like of her other works.

Liked esp. "Castile" "Inferno" "The Burning Heart"
Mar 17, 2009 Adam rated it liked it
Shelves: americanpoetry
A serious series, there is something happening in this book.

I don't know what is happening, what it's about, but I get the feeling I could probably figure it out if I wanted to.

Gluck's line breaks are UGLY.
Laura Jean
Oct 27, 2013 Laura Jean rated it really liked it
While some of the poems in this collection got lost in homage to old masters (why must everyone write their own Orpheus poem?), much was original, and beautiful, and true.
Aug 13, 2008 Katherine rated it liked it
I love Louise Gluck, but found this book to be a little tiresome. There's something about poets rewriting Greek and Roman myths that gets under my skin.
Apr 30, 2007 Bryant rated it really liked it
Slim but never glib, Glueck's poems are at once grounded and ethereal. Challenging, finely chiseled poems.
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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
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“The master said You must write what you see.
But what I see does not move me.
The master answered Change what you see.
More quotes…