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Poems 1962-2012

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  543 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The collected works of the inimitable Pulitzer Prize–winning poet

It is the astonishment of Louise Glück's poetry that it resists collection. With each successive book her drive to leave behind what came before has grown more fierce, the force of her gaze fixed on what has yet to be imagined. She invented a form to accommodate this need, the book-length sequence of poems,
Paperback, 634 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published January 1st 2012)
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Julie Christine
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am tired of having hands
she said
I want wings

~Blue Rotunda

Two months of slowly, quietly, making my way through this extraordinary collection. Hundreds of poems, lines I want to live inside.

The mountain stands like a beacon, to remind the night that the earth still exists,
that it mustn't be forgotten.

~Before the Storm

Because the scope of this collection is so vast (fifty years!), we see the span of a woman's life, from her childhood anorexia

It begins quietly
in certain female children:
the fear
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the book you'll want to spend time with. Not because the poems are difficult (though they occasionally can be) but because the poems are so candid and brave. It's wonderful to see that even the very early poems had a wildness, an untamed nature that made the work refreshing.

This is a dream gift for anyone who's a fan of Gluck. The size of the book makes it most suitable for libraries. If this book had existed when I was in graduate school, I would have made it my prize collection and
Claudia Putnam
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I read this in 2019 along with the complete collecteds of Octavio Paz and TS Eliot (a re-read for Eliot). I'm going ahead and giving this 5 stars because much of the writing is strong, but as a body of work, it's not up to those two. Might be a personal preference--I like work that takes on history, global themes, language, politics, the search for meaning... I'm less concerned (though not entirely uninterested in) with family and affairs and such. Esp since this collection has such emotional ...more
James Murphy
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here's Louise Gluck in all her majesty. From the early individualisms to the classical tropes to Homer in New Jersey to the life of a village, she writes a poetry representing all humanity. Whether written in the voices of the residents of a provincial village or the modern voices of a New Jersey family reliving the tensions of the Odyssey, these are poems spoken by man. Even in the poems about the gods, these are the stories of man. Each of her eleven books is a themed work. Besides Homer ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Two stars because there were a few phrases, a small handful of moments, that stopped my breath for a moment. The way poetry does.
I read and read and re-read Louise Gluck since discovering her through the Hamilton Public Library sometime in 2005. Her poetry just blows me away, a many-layered onion that smells more like a rose. hahahaha Yeah, I love Weezy Gluck.

The first poem I ever read by Gluck was "Gretel In Darkness":

This is the world we wanted.
All who would have seen us dead
are dead. I hear the witch's cry
break in the moonlight through a sheet
of sugar: God rewards.
Her tongue shrivels into gas . . .

Now, far from
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfect, in every way. Gluck (pronounced: Glick), who was literally a student of legendary poet Stanley Kunitz, writes neat (in their configuration on the page; not always in their sentiment), meaningful poems about herself, her parents and sister, her husband and son. She is a fin de siecle poet of historical imagination, domesticity, and metaphyics. A striking equivalent to the brilliant American women novelists of our time, I wish her poetry had a wider audience. (Though she's hardly ...more
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-poetry-man
I just met Glück in a friend's poetry workshop. She's very much the Rimbaud type, writing a whole book in a week and spending the rest of her time drinking, masturbating, reading seed catalogues.
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
so good!! read this!
Feb 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm done!!! finally!!! ahhh
Sigrun Hodne
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poetry

All day he works at his cousin’s mill,
so when he gets home at night, he always sits at this one window,
sees one time of dauy, twilight.
There should be more time lilke this, to sit and dream.
It’s as his cousin says:
Living— living takes you away from sitting.

In the window, not the world but a squared-off landscape
representing the world. The seasons change,
each visible only a few hours a day.
Green things followed by golden things followed by whiteness—
abstractions from which come intense
Cooper Renner
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I haven't finished this book and probably never will. I wanted to reread her early books--which I had found good in the '70s and '80s--and at least try to read some of the later work, most of which I hadn't previously read and had found "lame" when browsed/looked at. I still find many of the early poems good, though by the time of Triumph of Achilles the chatty self-obsession was present, a fact I hadn't noted before. I've read some or all of three or four of the books after Triumph, and they ...more
Gluck's poetry came up in an essay I read recently and I got this collection of her poetry from the library. It's a bit of a monster covering 5 decades of her published works. Nevertheless, it was worth it. I didn't read every poem, but I read most of them. With the exception of 1 or 2, I wasn't every excited about most of the poetry before the 1990s and I was starting to think it was a washout and then I got to the poems of her book "The Wild Iris." I was hooked after that. Gluck uses a variety ...more
One of those leisurely reads. You know, when the morning paper's late. Read a few Louises. Plain, conversational, at times unlovely. As with Hemingway, gives you ideas. Yes, I can do this. Deceivingly simple. No problem. Imitation. Success. But, not really. Luckily, we share a love of the earth, the seasons, plants, animals. Louise writes much more first-person than I dare to. Confessional stuff. Her husband, God help us. Persephone, Gods help her. But it finished strong. "The Village" set. ...more
Leela Srinivasan
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: looked-at
The perfect mix of beautiful style but understandable content. I did not read this entire book-- I came across it in a Barnes & Noble and skimmed through it-- but I knew that I loved her and now I know it even more. Absolutely one of my favorite modern poets. There is no pretension. It just lies there, bare and open.

"Now we return to what we were,
animals living in darkness
without language or vision--

Nothing proves I'm alive.
There is only the rain, the rain is endless."
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There were a few poems in this collection that made me change the way I breathe, both in the moment of reading and for a long while after.

About half of the poems in this collection were too polished for me to feel-read. There is certainly beauty in their stark brightness, but it blinded me. I think I will return to them later when life has adjusted my eyes.
Joan Colby
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First and foremost, I’m a huge admirer of Gluck’s poetry. What is interesting in reading from her earliest to her latest work is the consistency of her voice and style from the start. Even as a young poet, she speaks with authority.
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, library
I read the first half a few years ago, and the second half this summer because this is just so flippin long. This is technically like twelve of her books since it's a collection so I should automatically win my Goodreads challenge.
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Thank you so so much @abby for buying me this when I wanted it so badly. Gluck seriously never disappoints and I love everything about this collection right down to the cover art. Will own this book until I die, and then someone luckier than I will own it because I'll be dead.
Eric Rickert
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poetry
The long-form version of Beyonce's ***FLAWLESS, the book equivalent of a mic drop, the reason the printing press was invented.

The unused subtitle: Jaw-Dropping Perfection, or Kiss My Ass
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Average rating: 3.4 - rounded down to the 3 side.

Because I'm just absolute crap at articulating my impressions of poetry, and because I don't feel like I have the adequate training to speak to the techniques employed, I'm going to just round up my individual ratings of each volume and my favorite poems in each:


Firstborn: 3 stars.

Favorite Poem(s): "My Neighbor in the Mirror," "The Edge"


The House on Marshland: 4 stars

Favorite Poem(s): "To Autumn," "The Undertaking," "The Fire," "The Letters"
Deborah Schuff
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Such an amazing, spare voice. I fell in love with her.
Maria Ch
Oct 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites, poetry
I wanted to read this book of Gluck’s collected poetry for a few years now, and I was definitely not disappointed. An interesting read that covers more than 4 decades of poetry and 11 published collections. Gluck is a charismatic poet who takes precedence through the use of memory in her poetry as a recurrent and omnipresent theme. Memory is inscribed in images of childhood, at times conveyed as traumatic, while at others it carries elusive connotations, encrypted in images that cannot be easily ...more
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I don't jump at the chance to own every contemporary poet's collected works, but Louise Gluck's is one of the few that every poetry reader should have. Containing her twelve books of poetry, it's a treat to see the progression of Gluck's work, as she's only gotten better, over time. That said, each book is still enjoyable on its own, little novels in verse that transport the reader through nature, myth, and events of Gluck's life.

Also fascinating are the dichotomies often used to describe
Aug 22, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2015
This was somewhat of a mixed grouping of poems, and I skimmed more than read (reading every poem in a book this large all in one go would be like eating an entire bag of Oreos in one go; wouldn't matter how good they were, after a while you'd get tired and a little sick of them). The poems that I liked the most and could connect with were the first person narrative pieces written from the perspectives of various historical or mythical characters: Penelope, Circe, Joan of Arc, Gretel, Telemachus, ...more
Jul 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, what a journey!

From the beggining to the last book, Glück never ceases to amaze. I think it's important to know a little of each book, otherwise it could be a bit too samey if one reads as a whole block of poems. Anyway, it is clear that each book in this collection is unique. I know that "The Wild Iris" is high praised, and it deserves so, but Ararat, Meadowlands and A Village Life are perfection.
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's somehow overwhelming to have them all here, something like eleven books in the course of one career, without foreword or introduction or comment, one after another, front to back. One is tempted to read from the center out in both directions, which is what I did. I've loved all her books individually. Something is lost in an omnibus like this--some kind of organizing principle, or perhaps a simple intimacy. It's too heavy in the hand.
"This is a doorstop, more than 600 pages, but it reveals the startling development of a poetic sensibility over a half-century, from severe and dark to deep and gently optimistic, but always with an eerie precision for word and phrase. She is tough to read in great gobs, but richly rewarding." - Dennis J. Hutchinson
Franco Romero
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Existentialism, myth, the home, the self, the soul, love, and above all else death. All brilliantly, meticulously explored here. It's fascinating to see the interrogation of these themes intensify and morph over the course of a career.
Caitlin Conlon
If I could choose one poet to completely emulate, to have the best & worst qualities of, it would be Louise Glück. She truly writes the things that I can only dream of creating & for that I am forever in awe of her. Some collections were better than others, but overall I felt as though I were drowning in a puddle, lungs and organs filling to the brim.
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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
“Living things don't all require
light in the same degree. Some of us
make our own light: a silver leaf
like a path no one can use, a shallow
lake of silver in the darkness under the great maples.

But you know this already.
You and the others who think
you live for truth and, by extension, love
all that is cold.”
“They sat far apart
deliberately, to experience, daily,
the sweetness of seeing each other across
great distance.”
More quotes…