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The Wild Iris
Categories: 20th Century, American, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (80 pages)
(Pub. Feb 1996)
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
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
after the first cries,
doesn't joy, like fear, make no sound?
from 'The Silver Lily'
Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2020
Winner of The Pulitzer Prize for Poetry 1993
Helen Vendler wrote in The New Republic: 'Louise Glück is a poet of strong and haunting presence. Her poems, published in a series of memorable books over the last twenty years, have achieved the unusual distinction of being neither "confessional" nor "intellectual" in the usual senses of those words, which are often thought to represent two camps in the life of poetry'.
What a strange book The Wild Iris is, appearing in this fin-de-siècle, written in the language of flowers. It is a lieder cycle, with all the mournful cadences of that form. It wagers everything on the poetic energy remaining in the old troubadour image of the spring, the Biblical lilies of the field, natural resurrection.
Awards won by Louise Glück Short-listed, 2014 Forward Prize for Best Collection (Faithful and Virtuous Night) Short-listed, 2014 T. S. Eliot Prize (Faithful and Virtuous Night) Winner, 1993 Pulitzer Prize (The Wild Iris)
Praise for Louise Glück 'Gluck's essays are delicate, tactful, self-aware and wry; her sense of humour is so understated that you might miss it if you think of her solely as a poet of tenacity and autumnal smokiness... Reading American Originality alongside her first essay collection, Proofs and Theories (1994), a portrait emerges of a wilful, embattled child who earned her stern serenity not only through loss but also through that miraculous state of grace that poetry can provide'
Ange Mlinko, Literary Review
'In this collection of sharply focussed and insightful essays one unifying theme emerges. Despite all the fads and fashions, the dead ends and new waves of poetry one thing survives, and that as she so vividly reminds us, is poetry'
Roger Bloor, The Alchemy Spoon
'Her writing's emotional and rhetorical intensity are beyond dispute. Not once in six books has she wavered from a formal seriousness, an unhurried sense of control and a starkness of expression that, like a scalpel, slices the mist dwelling between hope and pain.'
Washington Post 'Gluck stands at the centre of time and speaks, not with raw emotion or linguistic abandon, but with the ageless urgency of questions about the soul.'
Partisan Review 'Characteristically sure-footed, Glück speaks to our time in a voice that is onstage, but heard from the wings.'
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