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The Wild Iris

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Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

From Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Glück, a stunningly beautiful collection of poems that encompasses the natural, human, and spiritual realms

Bound together by the universal themes of time and mortality and with clarity and sureness of craft, Louise Glück's poetry questions, explores, and finally celebrates the ordeal of being alive.

65 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1992

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About the author

Louise Glück

98 books1,561 followers
American poet Louise Elisabeth Glück served as poet laureate of the United States from 2003 to 2004.

Parents of Hungarian Jewish heritage reared her on Long Island. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and later Columbia University.

She 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 Poetry; Meadowlands (1996); The Wild Iris (1992), which received the Pulitzer Prize and the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America; Ararat (1990), which received the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress. She also published a collection of essays, Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry (1994), which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction.

In 2001, Yale University awarded Louise Glück its Bollingen Prize in Poetry, given biennially for a poet's lifetime achievement in his or her art. Her other honors include the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, the Sara Teasdale Memorial Prize (Wellesley, 1986), the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1993 for her collection, The Wild Iris . Glück is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award ( Triumph of Achilles ), the Academy of American Poet's Prize ( Firstborn ), as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Anniversary Medal (2000), and fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts.

In 2020, Glück was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, "for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal."

Glück also worked as a senior lecturer in English at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, served as a member of the faculty of the University of Iowa and taught at Goddard College in Vermont. She currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and teaches as the Rosencranz writer in residence at Yale University and in the creative writing program of Boston University.

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5 stars
4,811 (44%)
4 stars
3,610 (33%)
3 stars
1,784 (16%)
2 stars
416 (3%)
1 star
113 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 979 reviews
Profile Image for Julie G .
883 reviews2,742 followers
September 12, 2017
I had a Creative Writing teacher who asked me once if I would like anyone other than myself to read my poetry. When I answered, “Yes,” she advised me to make the suffering in my poems more universal and less personal.

Poetry is obviously personal, but she explained to me that, if I had a husband named “Dick” who beat me, it would be more effective to describe the blows from his hands or the degradation of the act or the hopelessness of my situation rather than to write specifically about “Dick” and how much I hated him. You can still write about the pain of your personal suffering, but in a way that others can relate to your situation.

It was excellent advice, and it helped my poetry immensely.

I only wish that Ms. Gluck had received the same advice before she published this collection.

Just for the record, I recently gave a later work of Ms. Gluck's (October), a five star review. I found it poignant, and (here's the important part) relatable.


Poetry, at least for me, must be relatable.

This collection, The Wild Iris, is too arcane.

The greatest example: who is you? She speaks to you, throughout the entire collection. But, you know, not you. But you.

I know that this you isn't me. So. . . is it God? Her lover? Her parent? Her child? Her inner self?

Is the you shifting? Is it the same you throughout?

And, what's this:

You wanted to be born; I let you be born.
When has my grief ever gotten
in the way of your pleasure?
. . .
never imagining the sound of my voice
as anything but part of you--
you won't hear it in the other world,
not clearly again,
not in birdcall or human cry

Who wanted to be born? Who was birthed? Why will the person not hear her birdcall again??

And, why does she keep speaking as though she's a bird? Who's the bird? Why are there so many birds??

No disrespect, but I'm an emotional gal, and nothing happened here for me. Not a single tear, not a chuckle, not a smile. No universal suffering in this collection.

Well, not unless you're a bird.
Profile Image for Glenn Russell.
1,356 reviews11.8k followers
October 25, 2020

In response to Louise Glück receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature this year, someone wrote:

"Giving the Nobel to a poet is like giving an Oscar to a street mime."

Is the spirit of this statement in any way justified? In other words, is it fair to give the award to a poet when novelists like Isabel Allende, Milan Kundera and Martin Amis have inspired and enriched the lives of, if not millions, then certainly many hundreds of thousands of readers across the globe?

The statement got me thinking. I spent a career with a large NYC based publishing company. For one national meeting, as a way to introduce employees to one another, the company put together a booklet with each employee's photo and a few bits of information, including "favorite author." I recall reading everybody's choice and doing a quick calculation: of the 200 women and men, 197 said their favorite author was a novelist (from Jane Austen, James Baldwin, Ernest Hemingway, J.R.R. Tolkien, Yukio Mishima to Philip K. Dick, Gillian Flynn, Alice Monroe, Margaret Atwood and J. K. Rowling). And 3 said their favorite author was an essayist (Dave Barry received 2 votes). NOT ONE PERSON INDICATED A POET!

I'm the first person to recognize quality literature, worthy literature is not a popularity contest. However, there is a dynamic here that can't be overlooked: poetry has a dedicated readership but compared to readers of novels it is minuscule.

Belgian novelist Jean-Philippe Toussaint told an interviewer: "Nowadays, the novel is the only literary genre that is visible, available to the public. If I’d lived a century earlier, I probably would have written poetry."

I still ponder these questions.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
October 10, 2020
Congratulations to Louise Glück, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, 2020

The Silver Lily
Louise Glück

The nights have grown cool again, like the nights
of early spring, and quiet again. Will
speech disturb you? We're
alone now; we have no reason for silence.

Can you see, over the garden—the full moon rises.
I won't see the next full moon.

In spring, when the moon rose, it meant
time was endless. Snowdrops
opened and closed, the clustered
seeds of the maples fell in pale drifts.
White over white, the moon rose over the birch tree.
And in the crook, where the tree divides,
leaves of the first daffodils, in moonlight
soft greenish-silver.

We have come too far together toward the end now
to fear the end. These nights, I am no longer even certain
I know what the end means. And you, who've been with a man—

after the first cries,
doesn't joy, like fear, make no sound?

This is a book of poetry in part about grief and the resurrection of the soul in spring, guided by flowers, in the language of flowers. About the decision to live, made again and again. Often powerful and moving. Proceeds through a kind of conversation between the flowers of a garden and the gardener, who is also the poet. And also with a father/Father. Many poems are “matins” or “vespers” which are sometimes a discourse about/with the human and divine. Each flower has its own characteristics, that seem to connect to (human) emotional states of loss and recuperation.

The great thing
is not having
a mind. Feelings:
oh, I have those; they
govern me.

Flowers as various human emotions personified, connected to cycles of despair and hope and spiritual connection. Poems of great beauty and sorrow, feeling-focused, visionary. Each spring flowers bloom, that seasonal cycle, the flowers gone soon enough, only to return. My second of her books read; this one, published in 1992, won The Pulitzer Prize in 1993.

The Wild Iris
Louise Glück

At the end of my suffering
there was a door.

Hear me out: that which you call death
I remember.

Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun
flickered over the dry surface.

It is terrible to survive
as consciousness
buried in the dark earth.

Then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.

You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice:

from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure seawater.
Profile Image for Vesna.
206 reviews108 followers
October 10, 2020
As someone who loves poetry, I was elated when the news came that Louise Glück received the Nobel Prize this year. I instantly thought of her collection The Wild Iris that I read too long ago to remember individual poems but do recall having a sense of wonder and amazement. It didn’t take me long to reach for my shelves and re-read it.

The poems are interconnected and spoken in the first person by three kinds of speakers: the poet-gardener, the flowers/nature, and the unnamed deity (it’s left to the reader to decide if it’s God, some universal divine, or any other higher form). They are written in a conversational mode with flowers speaking to a poet-gardener and sometimes humans in general, the poet addressing the apparent deity in her morning and evening prayers, and the deity speaking back to humankind. The life cycles in the garden with its seasonal changes, light and shade, and variable weather conditions from dawn through night, serve as the setting for the themes of life, death, and rebirth.

Glück’s poetic language is simple and austere, yet rich in imagery, brimming with lyrical beauty. Her romanticism is not old-fashioned but it also seems to rebel against the cerebral detachment in some modern poetry. Perhaps this kind of fad poetic ’modernity’ is what lovely daisies liken to the “shine of machines” when challenging a poet:
Say frankly what any fool
could read in your face: it makes sense
to avoid us, to resist
nostalgia. It is
not modern enough, the sound the wind makes
stirring a meadow of daisies: the mind
cannot shine following it. And the mind
wants to shine, plainly, as
machines shine, and not
grow deep, as, for example, roots.

(from “Daisies”)
While a spiritual work, The Wild Iris is far from a preaching kind. With many ambiguities, unanswered questions, and unexpected turns in words or thoughts, the poet is simply inviting readers to pause and reflect on their own spiritual quest and connection to nature. There are many memorable lines and even if not always connecting to the entire poem, there is a stanza or two that remains imprinted. Here’s just one of many such illustrations, when the deity/‘divine’ voice speaks to humans:
Never forget you are my children.
You are not suffering because you touched each other
but because you were born,
because you required life
separate from me.

(from “Early Darkness”)
The same voice often expresses disappointment and bitterness when humans take their life gifts for granted while searching elsewhere for unachievable eternity, regeneration (as in the plant world), certainty or constancy:
When I made you, I loved you.
Now I pity you.

I gave you all you needed
Your souls should have been immense by now,
not what they are,
small talking things—

I gave you every gift,
blue of the spring morning,
time you didn’t know how to use—
you wanted more, the one gift
reserved for another creation.

Whatever you hoped,
you will not find yourselves in the garden,
among the growing plants.
Your lives are not circular like theirs:

your lives are the bird’s flight
which begins and ends in stillness [….]

(from “Retreating Wind”)
Not everything is about human failings; this ‘higher’ voice also gives encouragement and approval as, for example, when a human recognizes the liberating nature of creation.
Retreating Light

You were like very young children,
always waiting for a story.
And I’d been through it all too many times;
I was tired of telling stories.
So I gave you the pencil and paper.
I gave you pens made of reeds
I had gathered myself, afternoons in the dense meadows.
I told you, write your own story.

After all those years of listening
I thought you’d know
what a story was.

All you could do was weep.
You wanted everything told to you
and nothing thought through yourselves.

Then I realized you couldn’t think
with any real boldness or passion;
you hadn’t had your own lives yet,
your own tragedies.
So I gave you lives, I gave you tragedies,
because apparently tools alone weren’t enough.

You will never know how deeply
it pleases me to see you sitting there
like independent beings,
to see you dreaming by the open window,
holding the pencils I gave you
until the summer morning disappears into writing.

Creation has brought you
great excitement, as I knew it would,
as it does in the beginning.
And I am free to do as I please now,
to attend to other things, in confidence
you have no need of me anymore.
As every gardener knows, our plants give us an immense pleasure but also teach us patience, acceptance of the unexpected, learning about life’s fragility… All this is beautifully captured in the poems voiced by flowers. While most flowers are quite common, I would recommend non-gardeners to quickly look online at the photos and habitat for a few less familiar kinds (for example, while much about laminium can be inferred from Glück’s poem, some of the metaphoric language is more accessible if a reader already knows that it’s a ground cover that prefers shade and cold, usually spreading aggressively). I loved them all, especially ‘The White Rose,’ ‘The Red Poppy,’ and ‘Trillium,’ ’but also ‘Snowdrops,’ ‘The Jacob’s Ladder’ ‘Field Flowers,’ and many more…

While it’s best to read the poems together as all are interconnected conversational parts of the whole, I can’t resist sampling at least one in which Glück gives voice to a flower.

When I woke up I was in a forest. The dark
seemed natural, the sky through the pine trees
thick with many lights.

I knew nothing; I could do nothing but see.
And as I watched, all the lights of heaven
faded to make a single thing, a fire
burning through the cool firs.
Then it wasn’t possible any longer
to stare at heaven and not be destroyed.

Are there souls that need
death’s presence, as I require protection?
I think if I speak long enough
I will answer that question, I will see
whatever they see, a ladder
reaching through the firs, whatever
calls them to exchange their lives—

Think what I understand already.
I woke up ignorant in a forest;
only a moment ago, I didn’t know my voice
if one were given me
would be so full of grief, my sentences
like cries strung together.
I didn’t even know I felt grief
until that word came, until I felt
rain streaming from me.
Profile Image for Edita.
1,303 reviews391 followers
October 16, 2020
You want to know how I spend my time?
I walk the front lawn, pretending
to be weeding. You ought to know
I’m never weeding, on my knees, pulling
clumps of clover from the flower beds: in fact
I’m looking for courage, for some evidence
my life will change, though
it takes forever, checking
each clump for the symbolic
leaf, and soon the summer is ending, already
the leaves turning, always the sick trees
going first, the dying turning
brilliant yellow, while a few dark birds perform
their curfew of music. You want to see my hands?
As empty now as at the first note.
Or was the point always
to continue without a sign?
Profile Image for Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer.
1,775 reviews1,256 followers
March 30, 2021
This collection, the sixth to be published by the 2020 Nobel Laureate, also won her the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1993, and as a result this is I think easily her best known collection.

It is also I think possibly the most accessible for a non-poetry fan, provided you understand the basic structure of the collection – which is really a free verse/dialogue novella and one designed to be read as a whole and I think in a single sitting.

My suggestion would in fact be to read the collection once, appreciate its structure (which can seem confusing on a first read) and then to re-read it, with a greater appreciation of the different voices perhaps concentrating on each voice separately, and then a third time start to finish.

The collection proceeds chronologically over a Summer in a US garden (starting with the end of the Spring Snows and going through to late September) – and the poems are of three main types (there are a small number that don’t fit this pattern).

The first set is written by the natural world – normally in the voice of a flower or plant (which gives the poem its name), typically addressed to humans in general (or more specifically to their gardener) – often commenting on the circularity and boundedness of their own life and relating it to humans.

The second (titled at first Matins and then later Vespers) is by a human – the gardener (and effectively part autobiographical like many of Glück’s poems – here featuring her then husband and her oldest son by name). These are addresses to a Divine presence – some would say God, although Glück would reject that as an explicit label (she has said “I have no word to describe this divinity, or celestial presence, has animated its life. It’s shorthand. It’s shorthand for whatever is not included in the human, and the natural. Something is left out”) and the voice is almost but not quite the Living God of the Bible. Many of these poems are a cry for understanding, for insight, by a humanity feeling itself cast adrift and trying to find its way back to the Divine.

And the third set (normally with a title which is a time of day or year) is by the Divine, written to humanity in general (and sometimes specifically to the gardener) in a tone of tenderness, but of slight disappointment that humanity has not gained its independence and fulfilled its creation quite in the way intended.

The interplay between the Divine and the human is for me reminiscent at times of The Book of Job, and the intervention of the flowers at times like the Lilies of the Valleys (Lillies featuring in three of the last four poems) addressing humans themselves rather than being used in one of my favourite bible passages (at the end of Matthew 6).

In terms of my favourite poems (and some excerpts from each).

Of the nature voices, my favourite has to be “Snowdrops”. This was included – and quoted in detail - in the Nobel citation where it was commented “Louise Glück is not only engaged by the errancies and shifting conditions of life, she is also a poet of radical change and rebirth, where the leap forward is made from a deep sense of loss”

I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn’t expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring –

afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy

in the raw wind of the new world..

It is a poem I think which had astonishing resonance in early 2021, as with a UK returning again to lockdown (a lockdown which seemed somewhat harder to bear than the first due to the cold and dark and yet also imbued with hope due to the imminence of a vaccine) the snowdrops reappeared “in the cold light of earliest spring”.

… you disclose
virtually nothing: are you like the hawthorn tree,
always the same thing in the same place,
or are you more the foxglove, inconsistent, first springing up
a pink spike on the slope behind the daisies,
and the next year, purple in the rose garden? You must see
it is useless to us, this silence that promotes belief
you must be all things, the foxglove and the hawthorn tree,
the vulnerable rose and tough daisy—we are left to think
you couldn’t possibly exist. Is this
what you mean us to think, does this explain
the silence of the morning,.

And of the Divine, the first intervention “Clear Morning”

I’ve watched you long enough,
I can speak to you any way I like,

I’ve submitted to your preferences, observing patiently
the things you love, speaking

through vehicles only ...

… you would never accept

a voice like mine, indifferent
to the objects you busily name...

….And all this time
I indulged your limitations, thinking

you would cast it aside yourselves sooner or later
thinking matter could not absorb your gaze forever ..

.. I cannot go on restricting myself to images

because you think it is your right
to dispute my meaning:

I am prepared now to force
clarity upon you.

Simply brilliant.
Profile Image for Henk.
849 reviews
January 28, 2022
Ethereal, full of gardens, green things and forests. This bundle is more cerebral than its visceral predecessor

This Pulitzer Prize winning bundle, the most widely read of her corpus, is not my favourite of Louise Glück. After the visceral quality of Ararat some of these poems almost feel Instagram like in prettiness, without touching on the personal:
do you treasure your voice
when to be one thing
is to be next to nothing?

- Scilla

Paradise and the perspective of a creating god, baffled by life and humanity, is the subject of The Wild Iris.
And it’s an ambiguous, slippery subject, Old Testament like in alienation and with non (or super) humanity as it modus operandi:
Never forget you are my children.
You are not suffering because you touched each other
but because you were born,
because you required life
separate from me.

Overall too detached for me, although the moving through time, with midsummer at the heart of the bundle, is cleverly executed. More to be admired than to be loved - 2.5 stars
Profile Image for Paula Mota.
961 reviews305 followers
July 12, 2022

Esta combinação de herbário com livro de orações não resultou comigo.
A natureza é demasiado bucólica e Deus a falar com as suas criaturas é um artifício que não me desperta o mínimo interesse.

Tal como as bétulas, assim é contigo:
não devo falar-te
de modo pessoal. Muito
se passou entre nós. Ou
foi só comigo que se passou? É minha
a culpa, minha. Pedi-te
humanidade – não necessito menos
do que os outros. Mas a ausência
de qualquer sentimento, do mais pequeno
gesto de cuidado por mim – mais me valia continuar
a dirigir-me às bétulas,
como na minha vida anterior: que me façam
o pior, que me
enterrem com os românticos,
que as suas folhas amarelas e afiadas
tombem, sobre mim e me cubram.
Profile Image for Alan.
418 reviews180 followers
December 24, 2022
Sadly, I did not connect with this as strongly as I thought I would have. A bit ashamed to say it, as it looks to be her most popular collection of poems, on top of being a Pulitzer winner. The time is not right, so I will come back later, seeing what the collection holds for me then. Maybe the idea of being at one with the earth, admiring the plants, seeing the dirt cling on to your fingers as it shows off sweet, green saplings… maybe this idea is completely foreign to me on this frozen, snowy Christmas Eve. There is deep sadness and a muted depression in the poems as well, but something is not matching. We are on different planes for now.

The three poems that I liked were:
-The Garden
-Matins (one of many poems by this name)
-Presque Isle

I don’t feel strongly enough about any of them to put one here.
Profile Image for Jeannie.
204 reviews
February 4, 2018
It was so hard to pick a favorite poem from this book. I could have chosen almost any of them.


My great happiness
is the sound your voice makes
calling to me even in despair; my sorrow
that I cannot answer you
in speech you accept as mine.

You have no faith in your own language.
So you invest
authority in signs
you cannot read with any accuracy.

And yet your voice reaches me always.
And I answer constantly,
my anger passing
as winter passes. My tenderness
should be apparent to you
in the breeze of the summer evening
and in the words that become
your own response.

Profile Image for cypt.
515 reviews646 followers
February 10, 2022
+ Pažintis su dar visai šviežia nobeliste poete
+ Nuostabiai gražus leidimas
+ DVIKALBIS leidimas
+ Teminis rinkinys (gėlės, gamta, kažkokia jau ne tik buitiška prasme)

+- Daug gamtos

- Bendrybės
- Ne visada aiški vertimo strategija

Būtų įdomus koks podkastas su vertėjais, pvz kodėl kai kur kalbėtojas - vyr. g.? gal čia reik suprasti, kad kalba dievas iš savo sodo, kur duoda gyvybę gėlėms, žmonėms, viskam? bet kituose eilėraščiuose kalbėtoja mot.g., be to, dievo hipotezės nelabai patvirtina patys tekstai, kurių originalus matom šone. Pvz:


Naktys vėl atvėso, kaip ankstyvą
pavasarį, ir vėl nutyko. Ar šneka
trukdys tau? Mes
likome dabar vieni, nėr priežasčių tylėti.

Ar matai, ten, virš sodo, kyla pilnatis.
Kitos jau aš nebeišvysiu.

Pavasarį, pakilus mėnesiui, žinojai:
laikas - begalinis. Snieguolės
išsiskleisdavo ir užsiverdavo, klevų
sėklos sukrisdavo blyškiom pusnim.
Baltas ant balto mėnulis kildavo virš beržo.
O medžio šakumos užuoglaudoj
švelniai žalsvai ir sidabru žvilgėjo mėnesienoj
ankstyvų narcizų lapai.

Mes abu tiek priartėjome prie pabaigos,
kad galime jos nebijoti. Šiomis naktimis aš nebesu tikra,
ar dar žinau, ką reiškia pabaiga. O tu, kuri buvai su vyru -

ar po pirmų riksmų
tas džiaugsmas, kaip ir baimė, netampa nebylus?
(p. 127, Mariaus Buroko vertimas)

Čia keistas tas vyr.g. dialogas su mot.g. - ar reikia suprasti, kad į poetę kreipiasi gėlė? O kodėl lelija vyr.g., gal taip yra anglų kalboj (kaip ir mirtis)? Būtų buvusi labai įdomi vertėjų pastaba grynai apie giminės vertimą ir tai, kokį vaizdą, kokią interpretaciją jie norėjo įnešti.

Dar lygiai toks pat atvejis, kur giminės pasirinkimas staiga transformuoja tai, kaip skaityčiau eilėraštį angliškai, kur giminė nenurodoma, kai tikrai matyčiau motiną, į matymą - dievo? Kažkokio mokytojo? Gal būtent taip turėtų būti skaitomas šis eilėraštis? Būtų žiauriai įdomi vertėjų pastaba, kokie visiškai skirtingi keliai.


Jūs buvot kaip maži vaikai,
vis laukėte pasakos.
O aš viską jau tiek sykių kartojau;
pavargau sekti pasakas.
Todėl daviau jums pieštukų ir popieriaus.
Daviau rašiklių iš nendrių,
kurių pats pripjoviau popietėmis vešliose pievose.
Ir liepiau: rašykit savo pasaką.

Jūs tiek metų klausėtės,
maniau, žinot,
kas yra pasaka.

Bet jūs tik raudojot.
Norėjot, kad viskas būtų jums pasakyta
ir nereikėtų nieko galvoti patiems.

O tada supratau - jūs negalite mąstyti
nei drąsiai, nei aistringai,
jūs dar negyvenote savo gyvenimų,
dar nepatyrėte savo tragedijų.
Taigi daviau jums gyvenimus, padalijau tragedijų,
nes akivaizdu - vien įrankių nepakako.

Jūs neįsivaizduojat, koks
esu patenkintas matydamas jus sėdinčius
kaip savarankiškas būtybes,
matydamas, kaip svajojate prie atviro lango,
laikydami mano dovanotus pieštukus,
kol vasaros rytas išblėsta į rašmenis.

Kūryba kelia jums
didžiulį susijaudinimą, taip ir žinojau,
iš pradžių visad taip būna.
O aš dabar galiu daryti ką noriu,
užsiimti kitais dalykais, esu tikras -
manęs jums daugiau neprireiks.

(p. 109, 111, Mariaus Buroko vertimas)

O juk gramatiškai pagal anglų k. čia ne tik kalbėtoja/s, bet ir vaikai galėtų būti mot.g.! Feikinių referatų puslapyje šis eilėraštis būtent ir aiškinamas kaip motinos kalba vaikams (https://www.academon.com/analytical-e...). Tiesą sakant, man jis būtų gražesnis, jei būtų apie mokytoją (ok, tada vyr.g., primintų Martinaitį: http://tekstai.lt/buvo/tekstai/martin...), bet vis tiek labai keista matyti, kokio pločio interpretacinį plyšį atveria toks tarsi smulkus (kalbiškai) dalykas kaip giminės pasirinkimas. Jau vien tas supratimas, kad vaikai negali patys (pačios???) galvoti, - iš mokytojo lūpų tai toks judgemental pasakymas, o kaip iš mamos? Gal liūdnas?

Gal gerai, kad turime dvikalbį vertimą ir tą matome, tada ta tikroji įtampa ir poezija tvyro ne originale ir ne vertime, o štai šiuose niuansuose tarp jų.

Man gražiausias knygos eilėraštis:


Nes mūsų pasaulyje
kažkas visados paslėpta,
kažkas gležna ir balta,
gležna ir - netgi sakytum -
tyra, mūsų gėla ne tokia
gili kaip tavoji, mielasis
gedulo meistre; tavo
klystkeliai ne painesni
už mūsų, kai blaškomės
po gudobelės šakomis, nusagstytomis
perlų lašeliais: kas
atginė tave pas mus,
nejau trokšti mūsų patyrimo,
nors raudi ir klaupies,
gniauždamas didžias plaštakas,
tavoji didybė apniaukia akis,
tad nesuprasi - siela
nemari: vargšas, nuliūdęs dieve,
jeigu tokią turėtum,
niekados neprarastum.

(p. 51, Dominyko Norkūno vertimas)
Profile Image for Ken.
Author 3 books925 followers
February 17, 2022
The last, and perhaps most famous, Glück collection in my recent run through her verse. Here garden metaphors bloom, but spring has its fall and death is always in the wings, as you'd expect of L.G. who sees shadow behind every light. I'm not supposed to like her earlier book, Ararat, a little better, but I did. That said, I'm always game for life-and-death poems, and what better medium than that born killer, the Earth?

Here is a brace of for instances, the second coming from my home state, thus warming its way into my heart:

Field Flowers

What are you saying? That you want
eternal life? Are your thoughts really
as compelling as all that? Certainly
you don't look at us, don't listen to us,
on your skin
stain of sun, dust
of yellow buttercups: I'm talking
to you, you staring through
bars of high grass shaking
your little rattle -- O
the soul! the soul! Is it enough
only to look inward? Contempt
for humanity is one thing, but why
disdain the expansive
field, your gaze rising over the clear heads
of the wild buttercups into what? Your poor
idea of heaven: absence
of change. Better than earth? How
would you know, who are neither
here nor there, standing in our midst?

Presque Isle

In every life, there's a moment or two.
In every life, a room somewhere, by the sea or
in the mountains.

On the table, a dish of apricots. Pits in a white ashtray.

Like all images, these were the conditions of a pact:
on your cheek, tremor of sunlight,
my finger pressing your lips.
The walls blue-white; paint from the low bureau
flaking a little.

That room must still exist, on the fourth floor,
with a small balcony overlooking the ocean.
A square white room, the top sheet pulled back over
the edge of the bed.
It hasn't dissolved back into nothing, into reality.
Through the open window, sea air, smelling of iodine.

Early morning: a man calling a small boy back from the water.
That small boy -- he would be twenty now.

Around your face, rushes of damp hair, streaked with
Muslin, flicker of silver. Heavy jar filled with white peonies.
Profile Image for Johnny.
459 reviews25 followers
March 24, 2010
Full Disclosure: I was assigned this book for a workshop and probably wouldn't have ever found the time to read it if that hadn't been the case. "Retreating Light," one of Louise Gluck's poems within Wild Iris, is one of my favorite poems. (I actually give it to students on the last day of class every year, as it encapsulates so much of what I think about teaching.) After reading this entire book of poetry, I was initially still a fan of Louise Gluck's, but I didn't find myself as moved by the entire book as I am by "Retreating Light."

Then in class, discussing the book with fellow teachers led by a BU literature professor, I found my understanding of the text growing and blossoming into a true appreciation for how wonderful it is. Had I known a few things prior to reading Wild Iris, I would have enjoyed it this much even without dissecting it with other teachers. Here is what is essential for understanding:

The poems all create a loose narrative based on the Book of Genesis. Three voices are utilized throughout: the humans (principally Eve), God, and nature itself. God speaks through poems titled by weather (including the seasons and light) and nature speaks through poems titled for individual flowers, who individually serve as speakers within the poems. The human voice surfaces in poems titled mostly as supplications to God (ie: "Matins" and "Vespers).

Knowing all of that is essential to a critical reading of the book. (Obviously, multiple readings would provide this same insight, but I thought I'd save anyone who is interested some time!) The resulting reading is actually far removed from the original Biblical text as Louise Gluck has actually created something with much more universal depth and insight.
Profile Image for Dale Harcombe.
Author 14 books299 followers
January 28, 2015
rating and review to come.
It's taken me a little while to think about what to write.
This is an interesting collection with poems told in different voices. Those with flower names are related by nature, the vespers and Matins by humans while others to do with weather, seasons and light are related by God. In some poems the poet reveals God’s heart as He grieves over humankind’s choices and turning away from Him, their inability to see Him or listen to Him, and their inability to grow as He would have liked.
I enjoyed the concept of using the different voices and the poems work well on the page. The language is simple yet effective. They are poems meant to be read slowly and thoughtfully. I’m not going to quote lines, as I think the poems need to be read whole and in context.
Even though Louise Gluck is a Pulitzer Prize winner, I’m not sure I enjoyed this collection quite as much as I expected to. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. It is certainly well worth reading and I think I will enjoy it even more on a second or third reading. For now my favourite poems are:
The Wild Iris
Clear Morning
Retreating Wind
The Garden
Presque Isle
Retreating Light
Profile Image for L.
40 reviews60 followers
September 15, 2016

Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.

I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn't expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring—

afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy

in the raw wind of the new world.
Profile Image for Connie G.
1,689 reviews451 followers
March 30, 2019
Pulitzer Prize winner, "The Wild Iris", is a collection of 54 poems telling about changes in a garden. The poems are written in the voices of individual flowers, the poet-gardener, and the God of the garden. Themes of transformation, suffering, death, and rebirth are present in the poems. The flowers die in the autumn and are reborn in the spring, while the poet-gardener can be emotionally and spiritually reborn. God's voice comes in poems about the seasons, light and darkness, and water and dryness. These elements lead to transformations--physical, emotional, and spiritual. Changes--time, aging, loss, our choices--can lead to feelings of despair, but also to new beginnings.


Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.

I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn't expect
to awaken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering,
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring--

afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy

in the raw wind of the new world.
Profile Image for Nadine in NY Jones.
2,749 reviews217 followers
December 31, 2019
Glück is clever, and she uses garden imagery that I appreciate, but she’s not fun, and she’s definitely not easy. She’s cold and remote and I don’t always understand what the poem is saying. I’m never quite sure who “you” or “I” is - is it God? her ex? the reader? I also didn't understand why so many of the poems were titled "Matins" and "Vespers" - perhaps if I were a practicing Catholic, I would get it?

A lot of the poems seem to be about God, and they seem angry with God. Glück is like if Sylvia Plath finally grew up, got several PhDs, became an ice queen, and wrote about God instead of her father.

Not I, you idiot, not self, but we, we--waves
of sky blue like
a critique of heaven: why
do you treasure your voice
when to be one thing
is to be next to nothing?
Why do you look up? To hear
an echo like the voice
of god? You are all the same to us,
solitary, standing above us, planning
your silly lives: you go
where you are sent, like all things,
where the wind plants you,
one or another of you forever
looking down and seeing some image
of water, and hearing what? Waves
and over waves, birds singing.

End of August. Heat
like a tent over
John’s garden. And some things
have the nerve to be getting started,
clusters of tomatoes, stands
of late lilies—optimism
of the great stalks—imperial
gold and silver: but why
start anything
so close to the end?
Tomatoes that will never ripen, lilies
winter will kill, that won’t
come back in spring. Or
are you thinking
I spend too much time
looking ahead, like
an old woman wearing
sweaters in summer;
are you saying I can
flourish, having
no hope
of enduring? Blaze of the red cheek, glory
of the open throat, white,
spotted with crimson.
Profile Image for Teresa.
1,492 reviews
April 10, 2021

dedaleiras, rosas, margaridas, lírios...
figos, damascos, pêssegos, mirtilos...
ervilhas, alfaces, chicórias, tomates...

Gosto de flores no jardim e de frutas e hortaliças no prato; na poesia fazem-me azia...
Profile Image for Ugnė.
527 reviews106 followers
August 22, 2021
Nežinia kodėl (gal kad Nobelis ir poezija man atrodo tokie retai suderinami dalykai) labai norėjau perskaityti. Perskaičiau. Dabar noriu turėti namie, nes tada pagaliau turėčiau savo "stalo knygą", taip gražu man ten viskas


Mylėjau jus, kai sukūriau.
Dabar - man jūsų gaila.

Daviau jums visa, ko reikia:
patiesiau žemę, apgaubiau žydru dangumi -

Bet toldamas nuo jūsų,
vis aiškiau jus matau:
jūsų sielos, turėjusios tapti beribėmis,
tapo smulkios ir plepios -

Suteikiau jums visko,
pavasario ryto mėlio,
laiko, kuriuo nemokėjot naudotis,
bet jūs troškote daugiau - dovanos,
skirtos ne jums.

Kad ir ko tikėjotės,
nerasite savęs sode,
tarp žydinčių augalų.
Jūsų gyvenimai nesisuka ratu kaip jų:

jūsų gyvenimai - paukščio skrydis,
kuris prasideda ir baigiasi tyla -
prasideda ir baigiasi, ir atkartoja
skliautą tarp balto beržo
ir obels.
Profile Image for ZOË.
194 reviews167 followers
Want to read
February 18, 2023
A customer recommended this to me today :D
Profile Image for Daniel.
84 reviews52 followers
September 6, 2016
The most common piece of criticism that I hear about Louise Glück is that she needs to “stop writing about flowers.” I suppose that’s valid, but a bit simplistic. I do feel that at times she is working too hard to find meaning in clovers or something, just so she can fill up the collection. But for me, the vast majority of these poems really work. I can’t really say that I fully understand the nuances of poetry and what makes a poem good or bad, so if you are a more casual reader of poetry, like me, this review might be helpful.

The other reviews will tell you that God is represented by poems titled with seasons, weather, or light; people are represented by poems titled with prayers (Vespers and Matins, mostly); and nature is represented by poems titled with flowers or other plants. In this review, I do the same. It’s important to know. But really, what is the difference between us and nature, to God? For that matter, to the plants, what is the difference between us and God?

There are differences, here, though I can’t really tell you what they are. Just that the essences of things are different. Glück understands these essences perfectly and works them over, basically turning the entire collection into a giant apostrophe to the larger world of things outside the self, looking for recognition, exploring the joys and limitations of experience, the complexities of a fulfilling or unfulfilling relationship (with God or not), growth, depression and persistence, as well as the coming death winter brings. The plants die, humans retreat from the garden, God sleeps. When that happens, you can return to this collection and remember the summer.

So yes, this collection is “about flowers.” If your basic level of reading comprehension stops there, then go ahead and skip this.
Profile Image for Atri .
187 reviews116 followers
May 7, 2021
even here, even at the beginning of love,
her hand leaving his face makes
an image of departure

and they think
they are free to overlook
this sadness.


I didn't even know I felt grief
until that word came, until I felt
rain streaming from me.


I wanted to stay as I was,
still as the world is never still,
not in midsummer but the moment
the first flower forms, the moment
nothing is as yet past -


In every life, there's a moment or two.
In every life, a room somewhere, by
the sea or in the mountains.


Hush, beloved. It doesn't matter to me
how many summers I live to return:
this one summer we have entered
Profile Image for Paula  Abreu Silva.
248 reviews57 followers
February 19, 2023

Quando acordei estava numa floresta. Parecia natural
o escuro, o céu através dos pinheiros
carregados de luzes.

Eu não sabia nada: nada podia fazer, só ver.
E, enquanto via, todas as luzes do firmamento
se desvaneceram numa única coisa, um fogo
ardendo por entre os abetos frios.
Foi impossível depois
olhar o firmamento e não ser destruída.

Haverá almas que precisam
da presença da morte, como eu de protecção?
Penso que, se continuar a falar,
conseguirei responder a essa pergunta. Verei
tudo que eles vêem: uma escada
subindo por entre os abetos, algo
que os convide a trocar de vida -

Vede o que entendo já.
Acordei ignorante, numa floresta:
há instantes não sabia sequer a minha voz.
Se alguma voz me fosse dada,
ela seria feita de dor, frases
como gritos amarrados entre si.
Não sabia sequer o que era a tristeza
até a palavra surgir, até sentir
a chuva brotando de mim."

Página 17
Profile Image for Jonfaith.
1,855 reviews1,370 followers
November 23, 2021
Hush, beloved. It doesn't matter to me
how many summers I live to return:
this one summer we have entered

There was an unexpected joy to these lines. I feared the esoteric but found such rapturous feeling spread across pastoral reprieve. It was a balance of which Candide would approve, though Thoreau might ask for deliberate prayer. As Tocqueville noted about American poetry, "as they lost sight of Gods and heroes, they set themselves to describe streams and mountains . . ."

My day yesterday was expectedly hectic, I had brought the verse as a tonic. Now with frost reigning outside we return in hushed tones to the Karamazov.
Profile Image for David.
1,419 reviews
March 6, 2021
Nature. God. The seasons
winter to autumn.
Flowery passages of bloom,
Youth and old age
Of love and tender shoots
We hold. Wait. Garden. And toil
The earth saturates us.
In vespers we pray
Acknowledge and seed
The garden, the air, the ground
We seek.
The hawthorn, lily, roses and buttercups.
And in la Scilla. We say.

Beauty. Beautiful words. Bellísima.
Profile Image for Dave.
524 reviews13 followers
February 26, 2010
This beautiful collection reminds me of why I secretly love poetry. I don't know much poetry, and I can't say much about it. In the course of earning a degree in English, I had only one teacher who mentioned things like prosody. But The Wild Iris is just phenomenal. I read this book as part of an institutionalized book club in my graduate program, and as I read I cringed every time I finished a poem, thinking "What am I going to say?" "What's significant here?" "How will we discuss this for an entire hour?" I shouldn't have been worried. I was amazed, not only what others found in the delicate lines of Gluck's poetry, but also what came out of my mouth. I connected with these poems on an almost subconscious level, and I wasn't alone. For that reason, the proof of experience, I strongly recommend this little collection for EVERYONE. Read a few a day (or if you're like me, at night) and find joy in the sublimity of verse.
Profile Image for Arupratan.
129 reviews120 followers
June 22, 2022
২০২০ সালের ঘোরতর গৃহবন্দী একটা দিনে সে-বছরের নোবেল পুরস্কার ঘোষিত হওয়ার আগে পর্যন্ত আমি লুইস গ্লুক্-এর নাম কোনোদিন শুনিনি। একজন কবিকে যখন পুরস্কৃত করা হয়, তখন আমার ভালো লাগে। মনে হয় সারাদিনের ঝাঁঝালো নাগরিক শব্দগন্ধতাপশঙ্কা অতিক্রম করে, ক্লৌজ-সার্কিট ক্যামেরা লাগানো গদ্য-সাম্রাজ্যের প্রহরা এড়িয়ে, সবুজ ঘাসভর্তি উন্মুক্তকেশ একটা খোলা ময়দানকে স্বীকৃতি দেওয়া হলো।

I didn’t even know I felt grief
Until that word came, until I felt
Rain streaming from me.

নোবেলজয়ী আজেবাজে অখাদ্য গল্প-উপন্যাস সহজেই পেয়ে যাই (যদিও কিনিনা সেগুলো - পয়সা দিয়ে কাঠালপাতা কেনার মতো মনে হয় - কাঠালপাতা ছাগলের খাদ্য - পয়সা খরচ করে এসব কে কেনে? - এর আগে কিনে ঠকেছি বারদুয়েক)। কিন্তু, এমনকি নোবেল পেলেও, কবিতার বই বাজারে খুঁজে পাওয়া দুষ্কর। দীর্ঘদিন হা-হতোস্মি অপেক্ষার পরে হঠাৎ সেদিন অঝোরবৃষ্টি সকালবেলায় আমাজন-বাহক আমাকে দিয়ে গেলেন লুইস গ্লুকের কবিতার বই। কাজের ব্যস্ততা এবং মনের আনন্দ চেপে রেখে বাহককে জিজ্ঞেস করলাম, চা খাবেন? তিনি বললেন, দ্যান অ্যাক্কাপ, খাই, যা বিষ্টি ...

I live essentially
In darkness. You are perhaps training me to be
Responsive to the slightest brightening. Or, like
The poets,
Are you stimulated by despair, does grief
Move you to reveal your nature?

গ্লুকের কবিতা পড়া শুরু করলে যেন অবধারিতভাবে মেরি অলিভারের কবিতার কথা মনে পড়ে যায়। সেই একই প্রকৃতির সঙ্গে সংলগ্নতা, দুঃখের মাঝেও সঞ্জীবনী অনুভবের সন্ধান (সেটা ঠিক "সুখ" নয়, "সুখ" হেব্বি ফালতু শব্দ), নিবিষ্ট আত্মউন্মোচন, ইত্যাদি। কিন্তু খানিক বাদেই ভুল ভাঙে। প্রকৃতির মাঝে ঈশ্বরের প্রতিবিম্ব খুঁজে পান মেরি অলিভার। গ্লুক্ খুঁজে পান নিজেকে। কিংবা নিজের সঙ্গে নিজের চলতে থাকা সংলাপকে। আমরা নিজেরাও তো, দিন রাত চব্বিশ ঘণ্টা, অনবরত নিজের সঙ্গে নিজে সংলাপ চালিয়ে যাই। ঈশ্বরের মতো একজন গোমড়ামুখো ভদ্দরলোকের সঙ্গে আপনি যেমন, আমি যেমন, গ্লুক্ও তেমনি, বেশিক্ষণ আলাপ চালিয়ে যেতে পারেননি (বন্ধুর সঙ্গে বন্ধুর যেমন আলাপ, তেমন আলাপের কথা বলছি। ইশকুলের ছাত্তরের সঙ্গে হেডমাস্টারের আলাপ নয়)।

Once I believed in you; I planted a fig tree.
Here, in Vermont, country
Of no summer. It was a test: if the tree lived,
It would mean you existed.

By this logic, you do not exist.

গ্লুকের কবিতার ভাষা সহজ, কিন্তু নিহিতার্থ একেবারেই তরল নয়। দ্রুতগামী কিংবা তাকলাগানো কিংবা ওরেব্বাসধর্মী কাব্যভাষা নয় তাঁর। তাঁর নিজের অস্তিত্ব এবং জীবনদর্শনের নিমগ্ন উন্মোচন ঘটেছে কবিতায়। প্রকৃতি ��াঁর কাছে বিমূর্ত নয়, দৈনন্দিনতার সঙ্গে ওতপ্রোতভাবে জড়িত। তাঁর ভালোবাসা, দ্বিধা, পিপাসা, স্তব্ধতা, উপলব্ধি, তাঁর উদ্যান, উদ্যানের লাইল্যাক ফুল, লেটুশ পাতা, তাঁর প্রেমিক, আরো যা-কিছু জাগতিক আনন্দবেদনাময় বিষয় আছে, তারা এসেছে এই কবিতাগুলোতে। অভিমানও এসেছে। অভিমান ছাড়া কি কবিতা লেখা যায়?

Even here, even at the beginning of love,
Her hand leaving his face makes
An image of departure

And they think
They are free to overlook
This sadness.

মাঝে মাঝে মনে হয়, পচা ফুল, কেমিক্যাল ধূপকাঠি, স্যাঁতস্যাতে দেয়াল, চ্যাপ্টা আঙুর, পুরোহিতের ঘাম এবং প্রগাঢ় পোড়াতেলের গন্ধে-ভরা কোনো মন্দিরের প্রায়ান্ধকার গর্ভগৃহে নয়— ঈশ্বর আসলে আমার শরীরের ভেতরেই কোথাও গ্যাঁট হয়ে বসে আছেন। বসে বসে খোলা-ভেঙে চিনেবাদাম খাচ্ছেন আর টাইমপাস করছেন। আপনি আপাতত ওখানেই বসে থাকুন, মেসোমশাই। আরেকটু বুড়ো হই, তখন আপনার খোঁজখবর নেওয়া যাবে, কেমন?

As I get further away from you
I see you more clearly.


This is the earth?
Then I don’t belong here.


Doesn’t joy, like fear, make no sound?

[এই রিভিউটা, একটানা সময়ের অভাবে, বেশ কয়েকদিন ধরে ধীরে ধীরে লেখা। তাই একটু খাপছাড়া হয়ে গেছে।]
Profile Image for Behzad Sadeghian.
417 reviews85 followers
December 6, 2022
Unforgettable images that give concrete form to ideas that are formless even in the mind.

"At the end of my suffering
there was a door."

Containing an ironic wisdom which puts familiar concepts in a new light:

"Forgive me if I say I love you: the powerful
are always lied to since the weak are always
driven by panic."

"Human beings leave
signs of feeling

A reader already interested in poetry will enjoy the poems in this collection more than the novice who is highly advised to take the title of each poem quite seriously so as to be able to make heads or tails of them. And one must keep in mind, while reading this collection, that poetry is not so much "about" something as reproducing feelings and phenomena using language and sounds.
So I recommend that each poem be read at least twice, after which one has to give oneself some time to re-imagine the lines and the world created in the poem and attempt an interpretation.

"This is the earth? Then
I don't belong here."
Profile Image for Virga.
228 reviews49 followers
February 7, 2022
Keistokas dalykas ta Nobelio premija. Eilėraščiai šitoj knygoj, sakyčiau, yra religingo humanitaro trečiakursio naktinės vizijos. Arba dievas kalba į žmoniją, arba žmonija koketiškai nusižeminusi prieš dievą, arba koks kitas didaktinis balselis, bet visais atvejais labai nesimpatiškas. Augalų/ augmenijų tarsi minima daug, bet perspektyva visur absoliučiai švariai antropo-teo-centrinė, pasaulis aplinkui tą švelniai (koketiškai) transgresuojantį autorės pamaldumą tarsi neegzistuoja. Neradau nė vienos atviros ir tikros emocijos, nė vienos netikėtos minties, nė vieno keistesnio estetinio sprendimo, nė vieno užsikabinimo. Duočiau 1*, bet būtinai būtinai pridedu dar bent vieną už vertimus, nes jie tikrai meistriški.
Profile Image for Julia Eriksson.
167 reviews158 followers
July 12, 2021
Betyg: 3,5

Ibland ifrågasätter jag mig själv som mottagare av poesi. Till skillnad från skönlitterära böcker så tror jag att min uppfattning av lyrik präglas mer av mitt mående, var jag befinner mig i stunden för läsningen, både fysiskt och mentalt. Jag intalar mig att det är så i alla fall och jag intalar mig också att det var därför jag inte föll helt för Louise Glücks Vild iris. För jag vill så gärna gilla den. Jag tycker den är vacker och djup och känslosam men någonstans också lite… tråkig. Kanske handlade det mer om stunden och mitt sinne än om själva boken. Vi kan väl säga så?
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