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Triumph of Achilles

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  439 ratings  ·  70 reviews
From the opening line ("It is not the moon, I tell you") Gluck claims absolute control of subject, craft, and perception. We see what we are instructed to see; we understand what Gluck insists we understand. Gluck's sensitivity to emotional nuance is extreme: "I ask you, how much beauty/ can a person bear? It is/ heavier than ugliness, even the burden/ of emptiness is noth ...more
Paperback, 72 pages
Published May 1st 1987 by Ecco Press (first published 1985)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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anna (½ of readsrainbow)
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 6-poetry
"In his tent, Achilles
grieved with his whole being
and the gods saw

he was a man already dead, a victim
of the part that loved,
the part that was mortal."


anyway i always forget i don't rly vibe w louise
...more
Adriana Scarpin
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Liberation

My mind is clouded,
I cannot hunt anymore.
I lay my gun over the tracks of the rabbit.

It was as though I became that creature
who could not decide
whether to flee or be still
and so was trapped in the pursuer's eyes-

And for the first time I knew
those eyes have to be blank
because it is impossible
to kill and question at the same time.

Then the shutter snapped,
the rabbit went free. He flew
through the empty forest

that part of me
that was the victim.
Only victims have a destiny.

And the hunter, who
...more
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021
Mosaic legend as a response to unrecognised mosaics.

This is the 2020 Nobel Laureate’s fourth poetry collection – and one around which she retains some ambiguity, having said “That despite its absorbing agenda, despite individual poems that seem, still, among the best I have done [it] was a concession, I think to conventional imagination, or the conventional definition of ambition”.

I think this refers to the more obviously thematically epic scope of the collection in two ways:

First of all in it
...more
Leanna
Dec 07, 2009 rated it liked it
This begins with perhaps my favorite Gluck poem, "Mock Orange." I also liked "Metamorphosis" (the poem within the section) about her father dying. Wow, what a punch in the face that poem is. "Night Song" was amazing. "Adult Grief," another face-puncher. Other poems in the book don't do that much for me, but perhaps that's more due to subject matter (seems to be a lot of Biblical stuff here) than style. I think this best poems really showcase Gluck's strengths: truth-telling in its most stripped- ...more
Edita
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, louise-gluck
I have to tell you what I’ve learned, that I know now
what happens to the dreamers.
They don’t feel it when they change. One day
they wake, they dress, they are old.
*
If once you could have saved yourself,
now that time’s past: you were obstinate, pathetically
blind to change. Now you have nothing:
*
Why love what you will lose?
There is nothing else to love.
Matthew Mousseau
Apr 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
In this collection, broken into three part, the poet explores many themes familiar to the reader from her three previous collections.

Here, as in her previous collections, the poet writes about death. The best of these poems about death are found in "The End of the World" cycle. The title, the poet explains, does not refer the a literal end of the world but to a personal end of the world - that is, death...

How short it seemed, that lifetime of waiting -
this red star blazing over the bay
was all
...more
Emma
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Stunning poetry. My faves were 'Liberation', 'Baskets' and 'Marathon'. Favourite lines: 'Only victims have a destiny' (Liberation), 'But nakedness in women is always a pose./I was not transfigured. I would never be free' (Marathon, 1.) and 'I am not a strong woman. It isn't easy/to want so much' (Baskets, 4.) ...more
Lexi
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
she could write anything and i'd rate it 5 stars ...more
Hina
Aug 29, 2021 rated it liked it
“The Triumph of Achilles” from 1985 is a poem collection filled with emotions such a longing and desire. It is build in 3 parts and each combines the emotions so beautifully that one can’t stop but to keep on reading.
Courtney Johnston
May 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, borrowed
I've tried before with Louise Gluck and had more success; 'The Triumph of Achilles' is not the book for me. Many of Gluck's poems here are about pursuit, loss, waning feelings. They glance, they sidle up: when they do state, they still leave me confused.

Often I find the assemblies of words rather beautiful, but also tilting from side to side, from oblique to cliche:

Elms

All day I tried to distinguish
need from desire. Now, in the dark,
I feel only bitter sadness for us,
the builders, the planers of
...more
Jessica
Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
I hope I'm able to explain myself correctly, but this was such a strange reading experience! I have never had a list of Favorite-Poems-To-Come-Out-of-One-(1)-Poetry-Collection be this long (so many were! incredible! right on the nose!), yet, as a collection? As a whole? I didn't love this. It wasn't until the ante-penultimate poem that I realized that this book wasn't as chock-full of images as I expected. I really, really, really love images in poems, and this book was undoubtedly full of "pass ...more
Jim
Jun 22, 2019 rated it liked it
A few years ago, a friend recommended Louise Gluck's "Poems: 1962 - 2012." One of the memorable poems in there was the first poem in this book: Mock Orange.

There are some great poems here, and a number that I did not care for. Somewhat standard I think.

Today, I carried the book with me as I took public transportation to an anti-war on Iran demonstration. When I got to the demo, someone right away noticed and complimented me on reading Louise Gluck. You meet the best folks at anti-war demonstrati
...more
Eugenea Pollock
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
For probably several reasons, I had not read any of this poet’s work until this year; but when she won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, I resolved to remedy this situation immediately. Therefore, I started a chronological journey through collections of her poetry, and this is my fourth one. It is, by far, my favorite. Although it is difficult to decide which verses stand out from the rest in their emotional appeal, clever word usage, ability to inspire insight, whatever, there are a few that ...more
holly
the context
of truth is darkness: it sweeps
the deserts of israel.

are you taken in
by lights, by illusions?

here is your path to god,
who has no name, whose hand
is invisible: a trick
of moonlight on the dark water.

anyway this is by far my favorite one so far and it reminded me so much of the late ariel poems . i am exploding
Kairi
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I have to tell you what I’ve learned, that I know now
what happens to the dreamers.
They don’t feel it when they change. One day
they wake, they dress, they are old.
megan
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
8.
Last night in bed your
hand fell heavily upon
my shoulder. I thought

you slept. Yet we are
parted. Perhaps the sheet moved
given your hand's weight by

the dampness of
my body. Morning: I have
written to thank you.

[From the Japanese]
...more
Kat
all that is wild comes to the surface
Brittany
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gluck masters poetry. In this book of poems, I was left at each ending, after about 90% of the poems, with the sense of tension and connection, my mind working in new ways. Gluck has a unique way of viewing the world and her poems are wonderful read aloud. She has a dark music in each one, desolation and dissonance, a fragmented rhythm. Each poem is an entering into her mind. I will be reading more of her books soon.

Poems to highlight:

Mock Orange
Horse
Legend
Marathon .1 Last Letter
liber
Mar 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, read-2021
“You came to the side of the bed
and sat staring at me.
Then you kissed me— I felt
hot wax on my forehead.
I wanted it to leave a mark:
that’s how I knew I loved you.
Because I wanted to be burned, stamped,
to have something in the end—”
Sara
Nov 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Will probably continue reading this a bit. This is the first Louise Glück book I've read. I think I can learn a lot from it, the poems individually and how the book is put together. I don't have much objective or profound to say at this point, having read through the poems only once. ...more
Phebe
Mar 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“my fear enchanted him
so that he ran more quickly”

LerouxPurple
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Louise Glück’s The Triumph of Achilles is a very somber collection, detailing loss, love and melancholic reflection within its poetry. This variant of topics keeps the reader intrigued throughout the collection. There is also Glück’s tone which is somewhat dejected in each piece, yet not in a way that spurs the reader from its prose. Combing all this with Glück’s easy to read structure draws in the reader for a unique experience.
Most notable of this collection is Glück’s voice. When reading her
...more
Fei Feii
Mar 05, 2021 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book way way way more than her earlier ones.

Poems I enjoyed are likely the longer ones with several parts:
Metamorphosis; Winter Morning; Baskets and Marathon. Summer and Horse are also the ones I quite like.

Summer

Remember the days of our first happiness,
how strong we were, how dazed by passion,
lying all day, then all night in the narrow bed,
sleeping there, eating there too: it was summer,
it seemed everything had ripened
at once. And so hot we lay completely uncovered.
Sometimes the
...more
Peter
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A couple of really beautiful poems in this collection include "4. Song of Obstacles" from "Marathon" that compares love to the movement of a glacier and "The Mountain" about a teacher trying to explain being an artist to her students through the myth of Sisyphus. Myth and legends and fables are a constant theme in nearly all the poems of this collection. Mostly Greek myth dominates, though a few Christian and Jewish stories give a rich variety. "Adult Grief" is a good representative poem in that ...more
André Crombie
Sep 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“When my loves touches me, what I feel in my body
is like the first movement of a glacier over the earth,
as the ice shifts, dislodging great boulders, hills
of solemn rock; so, in the forests, the uprooted trees
become a sea of disconnected limbs—
And, where there are cities, these dissolve too,
the sighing gardens, all the young girls
eating chocolates in the courtyard, slowly
scattering the colored foil: then, where the city was,
the ore, the unearthed mysteries: so I see
that ice is more powerful than
...more
Aaron
Oct 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetics
A clean extension of Descending Figure, her prior collection, Triumph of Achilles strikes the same chilly tone but leans even further into mythology, fables, and biblical tales, only to intersperse the external with reflective scenes of a crumbling marriage. The language is straightforward and easy to parse, at a glance, but it still feels like an emotional barrier between poet and author, with silence and unspoken pain left to bridge the gap. Some of Gluck’s best known lines come from this volu ...more
Sarah
Dec 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Najbolja dosad.

" You came to the side of the bed
and sat staring at me.
Then you kissed me—I felt
hot wax on my forehead.
I wanted it to leave a mark:
that’s how I knew I loved you.
Because I wanted to be burned, stamped,
to have something in the end—
I drew the gown over my head;
a red flush covered my face and shoulders.
It will run its course, the course of fire,
setting a cold coin on the forehead, between the eyes.
You lay beside me; your hand moved over my face
as though you had felt it al
...more
Mattea Gernentz
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"I take my basket to the brazen market / to the gathering place. / I ask you, how much beauty / can a person bear? It is / heavier than ugliness, even the burden / of emptiness is nothing beside it. / Crates of eggs, papaya, sacks of yellow lemons— / I am not a strong woman. It isn't easy / to want so much, to walk / with such a heavy basket, either / bent reed, or willow" (Baskets).

"Marathon" made my jaw drop. It's so difficult to make a poem last seven pages and yet maintain its intensity. I'l
...more
Michale
Oct 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetic-license
3 and 1/2 stars.

Favorite lines:

“I know intense love always leads to mourning.”

“Beauty dies: that is the source of creation.”

“I ask you, how much beauty can a person bear?”

From “Legend” - a poem about her grandfather:

in such a world, to scorn
privilege, to love
reason and justice, always
to speak the truth—-

which has been
the salvation of our people
since to speak the truth gives
the illusion of freedom.
Eduardo Bello
Oct 31, 2020 rated it liked it
«Then the shutter snapped,
the rabbit went free. He flew
through the empty forest
that part of me
that was the victim.
Only victims have a destiny.
And the hunter, who believed
whatever struggles
begs to be torn apart:
that part is paralyzed.»

This is my second read of Lousie’s work. I’m noticing her longer pieces are really captivating, in the way her narrative extends and spills over the verses. “Liberation” and “Adult grief” are definitive highlights of this book.
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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

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