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A Village Life: Poems Hardcover – September 1, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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“Though it resembles her others least, A Village Life may come to be seen as Glück's most beautiful and moving book so far . . . [It] shows a ripening of Glück's genius, her mastery for depicting the things of this earth . . . [and] can be seen as the work of a master poet who has done what many poets long to do: she has written about death immortally.” ―Adam Fitzgerald, Rain Taxi
“A Village Life magnificently extends the landscapes, the harmonics, and the dramatis personae of Averno . . . More than any of Glück's previous volumes, A Village Life has a generous heart, a large spiritual scope in which to imagine the lives of others.” ―Rosanna Warren, The New Republic
“Not many poets can be electrifying while keeping the stakes this hypothermically low. Glück is a master, finely calibrating the shocks and their intervals. This collection, her 11th, is frightening the way a living statue would be frightening if it were to smile at you.” ―Dana Goodyear, Los Angeles Times
“Here is a poet at the unmistakable peak of her expressive power and experience . . . The characters in A Village Life do what the voice tells them. ‘It says forget, you forget. / It says begin again, you begin again.' Louise Glück begins again, unforgettably, in this profound new collection of poems.” ―Carol Muske-Dukes, Huffington Post
“This 11th book of verse by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Glück offers beautiful language with a sense of loss and disappointment . . . The poems in A Village Life combine the intensity of her early work and the longer lines and insight of more recent books. The writing is often hauntingly beautiful . . . There are stanzas where Glück makes her landscape seem so radiant or exquisite that you don't want to turn the page.” ―Elizabeth Lund, Christian Science Monitor
“Like Cavafy's persona pieces, the real subject of these poems is often a particular mood, not the transmission of details that distinguish, say, a child's voice from a farmer's . . . Glück lets us hear the silence that follows in the confessional. In my favorite poems in A Village Life, she also shows us what one who has heard that silence can now say.” ―Zach Savich, Kenyon Review
“Louise Glück is one of America's most famous poets, and one of the best . . . The fictions here are really a pretext for Glück to stage poems that explore, for the first time, material that is neither explicitly her own biography nor that of her mythical stand-ins. Always at the mercy of the Greek gods that inspired her earlier poems, Glück now is playing God herself.” ―Morgan Teicher, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Top Customer Reviews
The theme is familiar, but Gluck's presentation is unique. Here people, you and old, are faced with the reality that life moves forward whether they are ready or not. Indeed, our own choices may move the direction slightly, but finding our ultimate destination is clearly something we do not control. While we expect this in the older people facing death, Gluck knows that such experiences are not lost on the youth.
In "Noon" we find the tale of a "boy and girl" heading out into the meadow where they talk and picnic.
The rest--how two people can lie down on the blanket--
they know about it but they're not ready for it.
They know people who've done it, as a kind of game or trial--
then they say, no, wrong time, I think I'll just keep being a child.
But your body doesn't listen. It knows everything know,
it says you're not a child, you haven't been a child for a long time.
As the poems move on we see that many of these youth listen to their bodies and find their life now laid out for them. Some go away and come back, but they only suffer more.
To my mind, you're better off if you stay;
that way, dreams don't damage you.
This theme of longing for what we cannot have continues with age.Read more ›
Once I started reading from the beginning, though, its purpose was clear. It is a more literal-minded book than any she's written before but it is full of the exacting, unflinching observations that made her famous. As someone who loves to see a great poet evolve and produce masterpieces throughout his or her career, I can say that this book has now tied with The Wild Iris and Meadowlands as one of my three favorites.
Read it in sequence. It's the strongest single book of hers in a long time and one of the most accessible recent books of poetry that I have encountered.
poem for me was/is "A Corridor", which speaks to the humanity and tragedy of alcoholism: the daily hope, and daily despair, deeply embedded in a family, and a village.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not as sensual as "Diving into the Wreck" however, it was deep and meaningful. I felt I could connect to it on some small level.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Deep. Amazing she has so much to say about death. Beautiful writing.Published 16 months ago by Fern Baldwin