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The Seven Ages

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  391 ratings  ·  31 reviews
The Seven Ages was written during a ten-week period in the summer of 1999.

The fierce, austerely beautiful, and visionary voice that has become Glück's
trademark speaks in these poems of a life lived in unflinching awareness.
Many of the poems in this collection bear the familiar features of Glück's
earlier work, returning to themes of nature and the classical narratives

Paperback, 80 pages
Published March 26th 2002 by Ecco (first published 2000)
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...more like louise yuck...
Mads P.
I was a little bored with this at first, but the last ten or so poems were amazing. I especially like the poem "Eros" which conveyed that being present in the moment is the ultimate sensuality.

The poems about childhood, "Time" and "Unpainted Door" were poignant.

"Ripe Peach" about the mind taking joy in possibility was also brilliant. It also touched on being present in the moment.

I so identify with the themes that keep coming up in Gluck's poetry. I've read most of her books now. Wild Iris is
Christy Sibila
I had this stanza posted from "Ripe Peach" in my office for years:
"There was a time/Only certainty gave me/any joy. Imagine-/
certainty, a dead thing."
This is a but of example of the wise and beautiful poetry that is Louise Gluck's "The Seven Ages".
Speaking of the separation of body and soul in the poem, "Mitosis":
"But at some point the mind lingered./It wanted more time by the sea, more time in the fields/gathering wildflowers."
Or "The Muse of Happiness": "And darkness delayed by the season./So
Have now read this book two times, and still it does not quite hit. Gluck has amazing line breaks and images and her voice has an eery authority--one that has been through fire and back--but, still, this collection does not hold a candle to "The Wild Iris." Will have to read more Gluck to see if her other collections break the standard she has already set.
Rhianna Marks
I wasn't immediately a fan, but there is something about Glück's voice that continued pull me into the book. This was my first exposure to Glück, and I am happy to say I continued reading her work. Some poems are a miss, and others are just astounding. The frankness in which she deals with the eventuality of death and passing time combined with her tone of voice is, at least in my opinion, what makes her a good read.
Mike Jensen
Book after book, Glück's poetry gets better and better. I could give this 5 stars for quality, but so much is so bleak and depressing that I can't fully enjoy Glück. I can say that there is a cheery note here and there. Well, cheerier. Don't be fooled by the back cover copy. It is not all about death. It covers different periods from the author's life, as the title suggests.
Might be my 2nd favorite of Gluck's books of poems, right after "The Wild Iris." An evocative look at remembrance and decline, of "the problem of wishing to linger," among other things. This was a healthy tonic for an aging coot like me, of looking things in the eye.
alyssa carver
so i used to be one-hundred percent sure meadowlands was gluck's best work (although i haven't yet read averno) but i recently reread this collection and realized it is totally equal to meadowlands. thematically, they are very different and i'm sure it's the tortured romance of meadowlands that drew me to it initially. seven ages feels more relevant to me right now. it is less concerned with the myths of history and more concerned with the myth of family. (i mean the family we are born into.) it ...more
For the most part, I just didn't get it. I prefer more accessible writing.
One of Gluck's best. Aging acts as the jumping off point to explore the meaning of time--the idea of the present as an abstract dream.

This collection, like most of Gluck's work, uses simple language in a way that strips existential nostalgia down to its tactile core. She says it well in the poem "Moonbeam":

"You are like me, whether or not you admit it./ Unsatisfied, meticulous . And your hunger is not for experience/ but for understanding, as though it could be had in the abstract."
Then it's daylight again and the world goes back to normal.
The lovers smooth their hair; the moon resumes its hollow existence.
And the beach belongs again to mysterious birds
soon to appear on postage stamps.

But what of our memories, the memories of those who depend on
Do they count for nothing?

The mist rose, taking back proof of love.
Without which we have only the mirror, you and I.
Diann Blakely
The 2001 winner of the coveted Bollingen Prize, a biennial award given by the Yale University Library, is Louise Glück. In the same year, she published THE SEVEN AGES, which shows Glück’s relatively unchanged aesthetic, resting on a blend of classical myth and unsparing psychological insight, leavened of late by genuine humor.

(originally published in the NASHVILLE SCENE)
 Barb Bailey
Although this is Louise Gluck's 9th is my first experience with her work. I like her style , and her poems are easy to understand. Although some of the poems included are thought provoking I found most comfortable and peaceful. ( A treat for me on Mothers Day Weekend) I will be reading more of Gluck's books. Pulitzer Prize , Bobbitt Natl Poretry Prize amoung her awards.
Christian Bowe
quite a short collection but a few of these were incredible.
May 05, 2008 Amy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
I just read this on the recommendation of my poetry prof. It was different. At times she writes in this beautiful and profound way, but at other instances she uses way too over the top language for me. I liked the themes of the book (growing up, older, dying) but sometimes I just didn't get into the poems.
This was unbelievable. Glück's darkest and boldest work, and my favorite out of them all. There was not one poem in here that I did not like, and several ("Stars", "From a Journal", "The Destination", "The Empty Glass", "Summer Night") that were outstanding.
Wednesday Green
Some of these poems are like liquid. Some are lush and velvety. Poetry is a hard genre to nail down. Who writes a whole book of brilliant poems? A short book to be sure. She has an umlaut in her name. 3 stars. (A half for the umlaut if I could).
Gluck captures a multitude of weighty themes in this collection of poems: time, loneliness, connectedness. The poems were deep and sometimes dark; they could also be abstract and bogged down by descriptors at times.
Gluck has really interesting poetry. I recommend reading at least a few of them. She talks about really different issues than most poets talk about, and she is very realistic and outspoken!
Luna Miguel
Me ha gustado mucho pero no es mi preferido de Glück. El iris salvaje sigue emocionándome mucho más.
Ahora a ver qué tal Averno.
Joshunda Sanders
Great poems. Among my favorite is one that ends with these three words: "Nourish, sustain, attack." That about sums it up.
I like reading poetry every once in a while. I understood about 1/3 of these poems. At best. But that's okay.
Tara Lynn Tanner
Louise Gluck is one of the truly great contemporary poets- and this book of poems is really exceptional.
I think that I can learn a lot from Louise Gluck, and I need to read more of her poetry. The end.
Zena V.
I'd give it a 3.5. some of these are stunning works of art, others .. a bit easy to ignore.
Louise Gluck is my idol. And this book only adds to my love of her poetic prowess.
i'm pretty in love with her. & i love that the nail polish poem exists.
One of her strongest books. "The Sensual World" is an amazing poem.
Favorite poetry collection I've read all year!
Jun 05, 2007 Laura rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: poets, or those who love language
this book is even better than Averno.
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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
More about Louise Glück...
The Wild Iris Averno The First Four Books of Poems Meadowlands Ararat

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“I was not prepared: sunset, end of summer. Demonstrations
of time as a continuum, as something coming to an end,

not a suspension: the senses wouldn’t protect me.
I caution you as I was never cautioned:

you will never let go, you will never be satiated.
You will be damaged and scarred, you will continue to hunger.

Your body will age, you will continue to need.
You will want the earth, then more of the earth–

Sublime, indifferent, it is present, it will not respond.
It is encompassing, it will not minister.

Meaning, it will feed you, it will ravish you,
it will not keep you alive.”
“Desire, loneliness, wind in the flowering almond—
surely these are the great, the inexhaustible subjects
to which my predecessors apprenticed themselves.
I hear them echo in my own heart, disguised as convention.”
More quotes…