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Poems 1962-2012 (Los Angeles Times Book Award: Poetry) Hardcover – November 13, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Los Angeles Times Book Award: Poetry
  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition edition (November 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374126089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374126087
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 2.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The poems in Glück’s first collection, aptly titled Firstborn (1968), are tightly huddled and rueful: I hear the bone dice / Of blown gravel clicking. In Descending Figure (1980), a more assured fluidity and dark flowering take place without the loss of Glück’s hard-won rigor: The sun hung low in the iron sky, / ringed with cold plumage. Eleven previous collections are gathered here, echoing with synergistic reverberations, as Glück explores—with growing mastery and imagination, candor and wide-ranging inquiry, intensity and restraint––the turmoil of family life; the fever, bliss, and misery of lust and love; the circular battle with the self; age and death. For 50 years, Glück, a former U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer winner, has been writing poems of formal elegance, psychic intimacy, brainy fusion, emotional acuity, and aesthetic splendor. As intimate and immediate as her lyrics are, Glück is also vatic, summoning the old gods and the timeless myths to trace the human stream of consciousness, experience, and dream. Glück’s assembled life’s work of shadow and fire, driven by perception of beauty, desire for knowledge, is magnificent. --Donna Seaman

Review

“Ms. Glück’s new and career-spanning Poems 1962-2012 is a major event in this country’s literature, perhaps this year’s most major . . . 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. Her poems bring with them perilously low barometric pressure . . . Her father helped invent the X-acto knife. This is a cosmically sublime detail; no other poet slices with such accuracy and deadly intent . . . I look forward to whatever she writes next about aging, and I hope she goes on writing about it for a very long time indeed. Ms. Glück is fearless. ‘Why love what you will lose?’ she asks. She answers her own question: ‘There is nothing else to love.’” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“Glück’s Poems 1962-2012 is a big book by a poet who values, above all, intensity of address, leanness of sentiment, and precision of speech . . . [She is] among the most moving poets of our era . . . Glück’s innovation, in her best early poems, was to borrow the coolest American style and apply it to the hottest material: she was an objectivist of the emotions . . . This voice is not going to go away.” —Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker

“Glück’s latest volume . . . reminds us that she has been not only a resourceful and versatile poet but also an astonishingly brave one. Brave in what sense? In the way she has steadily enlarged her range and idiom, working, to be sure, within the compass of her own nature, but ever testing the limits of her gift, so that the impression made by the work as a whole is not of limitation but of an overwhelming fullness of invention and abundance of life. Glück’s poems at their best have always moved between recoil and affirmation, sensuous immediacy and reflection. She has found ways to engage with the world as it is without capitulating to its felt demand that she renounce any alternative sense of what is real. For a poet who can often seem earthbound and defiantly unillusioned, she has been powerfully responsive to the lure of the daily miracle and the sudden upsurge of overmastering emotion . . . Reality has existed for Glück simultaneously as foundation and irritant. She acknowledges what seems to her indisputably true—like the fact of death, or the loss of love—while refusing to concede that the soul is merely what Wallace Stevens once called a ‘rustic memorial of a belief’ long consigned to irrelevance. Fierce in her determination to see things as they are, she fashions poems that suggest how much more there is to know than she can say. Incorrigibly committed to lucidity and alert against even the slightest imprecision, she ventures in and ventures out as if full comprehensibility were a chimera and an obstacle to true understanding . . . Reading Glück, it is hard not to think that the poems come from what R.P. Blackmur once described as ‘the whole history of the common language of the mind, or as Yeats calls it of the soul.’ And yet—one more time and yet—Glück’s poems can also be thought of as expressions of a very particular and troubled person, a poet determined to get to the bottom of her own experience without making an idol of ‘reality’ or brute suffering. As with other great poets, Glück does not invite paraphrase. Her poems at their best—and they are very often at their best—embody not just the rage to order, but also the rage to identify a ‘truth’ that no order can approximate or touch.” —Robert Boyers, The Nation

“Glück is as important and influential a poet as we have in America . . . Glück’s work is all edges . . . the sharper ones can inflict heavenly hurt, where the meanings are. If you want to know about the last half-century of American poetry, you need to read these poems.” —Michael Robbins, The Los Angeles Review of Books

“Since 1962 few American poets have succeeded as well in writing as a poet of poise as Louise Glück . . . Glück has long favored subjects of disharmony as a means to achieve a poetry of poise . . . Glück forces pain to take a bow in her poems. She requires tenderness to admit its shadow afflictions . . . Her poems convulse, twinge, and even gripe. Or, as she asks in an early poem: ‘How much beauty can a person bear?’ And yet even burdened with the weight of so much distress, her poems most certainly embody the beautiful. That is, distress as beauty. When you consider the ferocious, relentless, merciless, unforgiving, and self-diagnostic stance that has characterized her poems for 50 years as a means to render beauty, you come to see that she is unparalleled in finding beauty in tribulation more so than any American poet since Emily Dickinson . . . Friction and discordance are the means by which she finds insight—and that insight conveys poise in the face of unrequited desire. Which makes her a poet of yearning too—and so she often conveys yearning (even if one does not achieve the object of one’s yearning) as a form of beauty as well. These negations have made her the finest poet of austere emotion that we have,—with her signature tone of solemnity a mark of beauty, too. To withstand negation is to unveil poise.” —David Biespiel, The Oregonian

“Emerging from a reading of this accomplished collected works is like having run a rigorous marathon. While in shorter individual collections Louise Glück’s consistency of tone has the effect of unifying her poems, in a much larger assemblage like this one, the boundaries of individual poems seem to dissolve and merge into what has the feel of one long, extended poem that is an invigorating but demanding read. Glück’s voice is like no other in modern American poetry. Her poetic domain—like that of Wallace Stevens—lies in the seclusion of analytic thought. The seamless continuity of her verse suggests a mind in perpetual meditation, deliberating in a state of waking dream. Her laserlike intensity purifies as it objectifies and erodes, leaving an indelible impression on the reader.” —Rita Signorelli-Pappas, World Literature Today

“Eleven previous collections are gathered here, echoing with synergistic reverberations, as Glück explores—with growing mastery and imagination, candor and wide-ranging inquiry, intensity and restraint––the turmoil of family life; the fever, bliss, and misery of lust and love; the circular battle with the self; age and death. For 50 years, Glück, a former U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer winner, has been writing poems of formal elegance, psychic intimacy, brainy fusion, emotional acuity, and aesthetic splendor. As intimate and immediate as her lyrics are, Glück is also vatic, summoning the old gods and the timeless myths to trace the human stream of consciousness, experience, and dream. Glück’s assembled life’s work of shadow and fire, driven by ‘perception of beauty, desire for knowledge,’ is magnificent.” —Booklist

“Though Glück has held national fame since the late 1970s for her terse, pared-down poems, this first career-spanning collected may be the most widely noted, and the most praised, collected poems in some time. Here is the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Wild Iris (1992), whose talking flowers encapsulated birth, death, loss, and hope; here are the starkly framed family memories of her controversial Ararat (1990), and the careful, self-accusing humor of late work such as The Seven Ages (2001). Here, too, are the stormy, almost overexposed poems (reminiscent of Robert Lowell) with which she began, and the calmly uncompromising universals of A Village Life (2009), where ‘the mountain stands like a beacon, to remind the night that the earth exists.’ Through screens of familiar stories (Achilles, Penelope, Dante) or through overt—albeit terse—autobiography, Glück at once scrutinizes her own life and reflects on the process by which poems get made, the way that we, too, may come to know ourselves: ‘Like everyone else,’ she reflects, ‘I had a story,/ a point of view.// A few words were all I needed:/ nourish, sustain, attack.’ Turning life stories to myths; myths to cool, scary proverbs, Glück compares her style accurately to ‘bright light through the bare tree,’ her process of writing to spying, to silent listening: ‘In my own mind, I’m invisible—that’s why I’m dangerous.’” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Selçuk Altun on November 23, 2012
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Lucidity and sheer elegance captured by effortless composition of the intimately cor-
rect words.A poem by Louise Glück is a sorrowful hymn peacefully touching the reader's inner world.
Consider this(from ''Vita Nova''--You saved me,you should remember me./The spring of the year;young men buying tickets for the ferryboats./Laughter,because the air is full of apple blossom.)
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sbl617 on January 20, 2013
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I had bought several of her books over the years but it is wonderful to have them all collected. And it exposes me to many I didn't buy separately.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L. Rogers on March 23, 2013
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This book of poetry is beautiful. The book tracks the authors growth and change as a poet over time, I haven't yet finished the book but Louise Gluck is my new favorite poet
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Management Consultant on December 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It is very nice having all these poems in one volume, being able to follow the Poet's development over the years.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mykonos8 on January 27, 2013
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Read recently an article in the New Yorker about Louise Glück's work and found the comprehensive collection of her poems on Amazon. I am very taken by her poems and like to open this considerable volume just about anywhere anytime and read.... a wonderful body of work that I cannot recommend enough.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By K. S. Marchetto on July 21, 2013
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Louise Gluck continues to stand out as one of the first among contemporary poets. This collection showcases the prodigious results of her equally impressive talent. Her work and her influence span decades.

My only hesitation about it is as to the advisability of publishing a complete or a collected works of a writer still living. If Ms. Gluck publishes any other books in her lifetime, this collection will become obsolete. For now, however, it's a beautiful artifact.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dan Glover on February 25, 2013
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I don't normally read poetry. This book was recommended to me by James Patterson (yes, that James Patterson), however, so I thought if he got something out of it, who am I to argue?
Louise Glück is amazing. She weaves entire books with just a few words. It is a joy to follow the evolution of her work over the years, to share in her joys and her sorrows. She lays bare the feelings most of us never allow ourselves to admit. It is like she is standing naked before the world saying: see? this is me in all my glory and fury.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially to writers seeking to expand their range in showing their readers the many different worlds of their stories.
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