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Faithful and Virtuous Night

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,501 Ratings  ·  199 Reviews
Winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Poetry

A luminous, seductive new collection from the "fearless" (The New York Times) Pulitzer Prize-winning poet

Louise Glück is one of the finest American poets at work today. Her Poems 1962-2012 was hailed as "a major event in this country's literature" in the pages of The New York Times. Every new collection is at once a deepenin
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Hardcover, 80 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published September 6th 2014)
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David Schaafsma
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Aboriginal Landscape
Louise Glück

You’re stepping on your father, my mother said,
and indeed I was standing exactly in the center
of a bed of grass, mown so neatly it could have been
my father’s grave, although there was no stone saying so.

You’re stepping on your father, she repeated,
louder this time, which began to be strange to me,
since she was dead herself; even the doctor had admitted it.

I moved slightly to the side, to where
my father ended and my mother began.

The cemetery was silent. Wind blew t
...more
Julie Ehlers
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Writing this beautiful and assured deserves 5 stars, without a doubt. To be honest, though, this is one collection I think I'm going to need to read again someday. I have a haunting feeling that I didn't quite get it.
Ellie
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Faithful and Virtuous Night: Poems, Louise Glück's most recent volume of poetry is pure magic. The language is as luminescent as always and there is a story-a kind of fairy tale of two children who have lost their parents, people lost in a world of shadows and light-play.

Everyone who loves language should read this.
Nathan
On the back of the omnibus edition I have of Glück's poetry from 1962-2012 is a quote from a New York Times Review of her work. It reads in part:
Put together these compact volumes have a great novel's cohesiveness and raking moral intensity. They display a supple and prosecutorial mind interrogating not merely her own life but also the sensual and political nature of the world that spins around it. [Glück's] poems bring with them perilously low barometric pressure... [She] is fearless. 'Why love
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T.D. Whittle
THEORY OF MEMORY Long, long ago, before I was a tormented artist, afflicted with longing yet incapable of forming durable attachments, long before this, I was a glorious ruler uniting all of a divided country—so I was told by the fortune-teller who examined my palm. Great things, she said, are ahead of you, or perhaps behind you; it is difficult to be sure. And yet, she added, what is the difference? Right now you are a child holding hands with a fortune-teller. All the rest is hypothesis and d
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Kevin Lawrence
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is Glück’s best volume since The Wild Iris. Glück’s first four books had an outsized influence on me when I was very young because they elevated an American idiom and adolescent angst into something that felt like real universal wisdom and beauty. In those early poems, Glück speaks with an irresistible command that very often derived from being grafted onto a Biblical or mythological archetype. But with the volume Ararat, the spell was broken. The poems were no longer archetypal but autobio ...more
Jsavett1
Sep 09, 2014 rated it liked it
I was waiting for this book to come out today the same way one awaits new music from a beloved band. Christian Wiman's new book of poetry came out today too, as did Interpol's new CD.

Anyway.

This collection starts off powerfully and I felt like I was sitting down with an old friend. The magic and veils were all there. The surgical precision of Gluck's language.

But as the poems went on, they felt flimsier. The abstractions started to pile up; things got too cerebral and detached.

Like the best of
...more
Crystal
Sep 10, 2014 rated it liked it
I normally love Louise Gluck's work. It used to be spare and sharp as needles. Unfortunately, in her last two books she seems to have turned more towards an overarching narrative. There is nothing wrong with that per se but narrative demands a different sort of identification than the lyric does and her character development just doesn't warrant it. This books is short but strangely sprawling. It has beautiful moments but I never quite saw an arc, nor did I ever once find myself falling in love ...more
Tanuj Solanki
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
It has come to seem
there are no perfect endings.
Indeed, there are infinite endings.
Or perhaps once one begins,
there are only endings.

Glück narrates like a short story writer; but then she always complicates the narration with a poetic construct that illuminates the entire field she operates in. Her narration morphs into something that does not need an ending anymore. Her endings are complex, and seemed to me to be happening in the middle -- it was satisfying that way. She ruminates on old ag
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Racheal
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
Heartbreaking? Luminous? Charged with wonder? Did I just read same book that's described here? I was, for the most part, underwhelmed. I found it strangely subdued and ultimately forgettable. It's obvious there's supposed to be some narrative thread tying this all together, but it almost completely lacks context and just becomes a series of strange and hard to follow ramblings on memory, aging, emptiness, melancholy. There are definitely nuggets in there, but not enough to sustain me. I've just ...more
S.D. Johnson
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A stunning collection. Of course night pervades a lot of these poems, but although used as a pathetic fallacy for epistemological and spiritual deficit, the night is also mysterious and glittering. The speaker sometimes seems to be Glück herself, or at least this is what most readers would project onto the text if familiar with her work, but mostly (or possibly entirely) the voice is that of an elderly male painter. Landscape, time and location seem to shift within narratives, & sometimes ev ...more
Jee Koh
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I deeply admire Glück's refusal to repeat herself. This new volume works with long poems (the title poem is 10 pages long, and gripping), prose poems, a new persona, that of a male painter who was orphaned as a boy when his parents and sister died in a car accident. Romantic medievalism is at stake in the volume: the boy sees his brother, and other redemptive figures, as a a heroic knight, but he is up against Glück's refusal of redemption. We understand this refusal as Glück's, but why is it th ...more
Ryan Smith
Jan 17, 2015 rated it did not like it
Did not finish. Barely made it 25% through. Gluck has been a favorite poet of mine for a while, but this book is really pretty terrible. I have no idea how it won the NBA.
Leif
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Word/mist, word/mist: thus it was with me.
And yet, my silence was never total––

What could an exquisite line look like if it traced the outward path of life's contact with death? A poem, you could say, but not every work of poetry takes up the task with as much graceful elegance as these poems which know when to stand in the darkness and at which moment to spark up light.

In some ways, poetry might concede some peace here, and so it is that family members appear as ghosts to Glück's speakers, pres
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Shawn
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Since I so enjoyed Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric, I thought I'd check out the collection that beat it for the 2014 National Book Award for Poetry, and I have to say I think the win was well deserved. I found myself astonished at the author's control of language and syntax, her ability to carry carry a single sentence on for lines and lines without anything becoming unclear. The images she creates and the feelings she conveys are just incredible at times.

If you're looking to get in
...more
John Taylor
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I honestly don't understand how Glück does this. Book after book, each one radically different from the last. And yet that same absolute confidence in the form. The same caliber of craft. The same daring expressed in a myriad of ways. Glück is a part of a small group that proves to me that there are still prophets, and they are still speaking.
Sharon Bautista
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This collection feels like being on an ocean in a little row boat, where to go forward or backward is both the question and the point. I photo-highlighted nearly everything.
Bouquiniste
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poézia
Zvláštna kniha básní, takmer na hranici krátkych poviedok, ktoré sa voľne prepájajú a vytvárajú kontinuum: uveriteľný svet. Koexistujú v ňom clivé, občas aj vtipné okamihy, trauma dieťaťa zo smrti rodičov, čakanie dospelej na vlastnú smrť: živí a vedľa nich, nad nimi, pod nimi ich mŕtvi ("stojíš na otci, řekla matka", sama už mŕtva, ležiaca hneď vedľa). Knihou sa vinú dva hlasy, ženský a mužský (ktorý v závere priznáva, že jeho kostrou je naratívna štruktúra) a v závere sa stretávajú už ako dve ...more
Nicole
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Feeling has departed—it occurs to me
this would make a fine headstone.

— Louise Glück, "Approach of the Horizon"

This was such a dreamy collection of poems. There was a lot to love about it, though at times it seemed it circled around gloomy topics like death, Glück tackles these ideas with an immersive wonder. I kept trying to think of what word I would use to describe her work, and I came up with delicate being the best one.

Each poem is careful—when you're reading it feels like you're about to t
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Jeff
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In Theocritus' first Idyl, the goatherd and Thyrsis exchange craft lore around the topic of the relations obtaining between poetry and song; the goatherd shares a long digression on an image carved into the cup of wine the two pledge to share. In Ezra Pound's reading of this, poetry's condition as a fine art is evident from the working out, in the pastoral, of melos, logos and phanopoeia.

In Louise Glück's new book, she continues this working out of the arrangements, initiated in her previous vo
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Natalie Tyler
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Glück
This book of connected poems is a real tour de force. The title comes from a book that the speaker’s brother is reading when they are young. Perhaps the title refers to “knight” but the speaker takes it to be “night” and remembers the title of the book. It is apt, for indeed the many nights of the speaker’s life turn out to be at least somewhat faithful and somewhat virtuous in that rich dreams populate the night, which faithfully arrives.
The cycle of p
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Monica
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Even though it is becoming a bit fashionable to not like Gluck (apologies for using the wrong u; keyboard is not cooperating) anymore — often the same lot who tends to dislike Wordsworth — this work is a masterpiece. Gluck uses a kind of narrative-verse-image to consider topics as incomprehensible as time, death, memory, and dreaming. Impressionistic, even anecdotal, characters and settings resonate with their simple believability within a surreal mind scape. I am immediately returning to page o ...more
Richard
Nov 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: readers of contemporary poetry
Recommended to Richard by: Gluck's previous volumes
This effort stuns on page after page, poem after poem.

I cannot choose one as my favorite, nor can I find an excerpt that captures the movement of the poetry; the work has too many complexities in reflecting a sense of loss, whether of parents, time, mobility.

The eponymous poem captures a small child's misunderstanding of the world (that "night," I think, should be "Knight," what her slightly older brother calls the book he is reading: "the faithful and virtuous night"), her sense of experience,
...more
Anna Kramer
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
I cannot help but revel in poetry. Glück's poems are poetry at its finest, incandescently surreal and yet so very real, so very true. I savored every piece of this collection, read every poem once, twice, and then a third time, moved on and then went back. She seems to find her art in questioning the existence of that murky fog we call human purpose; for she seems to say that we exist, and that is all.
I return over and over to the opening poem, Parable. To me, it is our history and our future d
...more
Annie
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Annie by: The Guardian
A Work of Fiction

As I turned over the last page, after many nights, a wave of sorrow enveloped me. Where had they all gone, these people who had seemed so real?
To distract myself, I walked out into the night; instinctively, I lit a cigarette.
In the dark, the cigarette glowed, like a fire lit by a survivor. But who would see this light, this small dot among the infinite stars?
I stood a while in the dark, the cigarette glowing and growing small, each breath patiently destroying me. How small it w
...more
Nicole
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
"A Work of Fiction"

As I turned over the last page, after many nights, a wave of sorrow enveloped me. Where had they all gone, these people who had seemed so real? To distract myself, I walked out into the night; instinctively. I lit a cigarette. In the dark, the cigarette glowed, like a fire lit by a survivor. But who would see this light, this small dot among the infinite stars? I stood awhile in the dark, the cigarette glowing and growing small, each breath patiently destroying me. How small i
...more
Sara Sams
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
If Russian novelists wrote poetry in English:

It was a strange moment.
The whole exchange seemed both deeply fraudulent
and profoundly true, as though such words as emptiness and
  meaninglessness
had stimulated some remembered emotion
which now attached itself to this occasion and person.

I love this passage from "The Melancholy Assistant" (I title I think the premise of the poem/title works... as Glück's interesting speaker is excruciatingly aware of his own pomposity)-- & the idea of an exc
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metaphor
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
As I turned over the last page, after many nights, a wave of sorrow enveloped me. Where had they all gone, these people who had seemed so real? To distract myself, I walked out into the night; instinctively, I lit a cigarette. In the dark, the cigarette glowed, like a fire lit by a survivor. But who would see this light, this small dot among the infinite stars? I stood awhile in the dark, the cigarette glowing and growing small, each breath patiently destroying me. How small it was, how brief. B ...more
Kelsey
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Haunting and beautiful. Louise has a way of putting emotions into the most accurate words which I suppose is what a good poet does. I highly recommend this thin volume; I think it's one I'll come back to myself.
Emma Kay Krebs
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
My favorites were: Approach of the Horizon, Midnight, & Visitors from abroad. I loved how well this book held together thematically. It would probably be a 3 star book if not for that.
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500 Great Books B...: Faithful and Virtuous Night - Louise Glück - Nathan 1 9 Dec 23, 2015 01:34PM  
  • Incarnadine: Poems
  • 3 Sections
  • Radial Symmetry
  • Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations
  • The Cloud Corporation
  • Once in the West: Poems
  • Stay, Illusion: Poems
  • The Beauty: Poems
  • Bright Dead Things
  • Book of Hours: Poems
  • The Book of Goodbyes
  • Collected Poems
  • Stag's Leap: Poems
  • Dancing in Odessa
  • Black Aperture
  • Second Childhood: Poems
  • If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?
  • From the New World: Poems 1976-2012
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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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More about Louise Glück
“I think here I will leave you. It has come to seem
there is no perfect ending.
Indeed, there are infinite endings.
Or perhaps, once one begins,
there are only endings.”
40 likes
“As I turned over the last page, a wave of sorrow enveloped me. Where had they all gone, these people who had seemed so real? To distract myself, I walked out into the night; instinctively, I lit a cigarette. In the dark, the cigarette glowed, like a fire lit by a survivor. But who would see this light, this small dot among infinite stars? I stood awhile in the dark, the cigarette glowing and growing small, each breath patiently destroying me. How small it was, how brief. Brief, brief, but inside me now, which the stars could never be.” 10 likes
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