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ISBN: 978 1 857543 91 9
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: August 1998
216 x 135 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Little soul, little perpetually undressed one,
do now as I bid you, climb
the shelf-like branches of the spruce tree;
wait at the top, attentive, like
a sentry or look-out. He will be home soon.
from 'Penelope's Song'
Louise Glück interweaves in this book-length sequence an account of the dissolution of a contemporary marriage with the story of Homer's Odyssey. Myth and modern life have a lot to teach each other in terms of irony and clarification. Penelope, Circe, the son Telemachus and Odysseus himself emerge compellingly real and quite distinct from the dusty figures they sometimes seem to be. Glück's poems are by turns bracingly comic, expansive, tolerant and, finally, heartbreaking. The trivia of daily life break across underlying dramas which the dialogues disclose. Dream and actuality, choice and compulsion, collide. She also explores the notion of the nostos, the homecoming, source of the momentum of Homer's poem.
'We look at the world once, in childhood./The rest is memory.'
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