Bryant's Reviews > The Wild Iris

The Wild Iris by Louise Glück
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's review
May 07, 2008

really liked it
Read in June, 2008

These are "you" poems, but the you is splendidly protean: tormenting, enrapturing, giving, taking, loving, absenting--in short, the divine. After Glück affixes her poems to the peg of her addressee, she proceeds to dance around him in a series of philosophical figure-eights. Do we create nature if we can, say, grow flowers, or are they always apart from us, "natural"? Are the shimmering growths of spring and summer signs of heavenly affection, or merely heavenly affectation, withdrawn in the winter like a rug swept away from the feet of faith? Even rooting out destruction is a hope that our control over things is somehow subordinated, blessed in its anemia. Glück writes:

". . . 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 . . ."

The most consistent aspect of this collection and most recent "Averno" is that Glück always gains access to great depths through the simplest language.


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