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American Originality

Essays on Poetry

Louise Glück

Cover of American Originality by Louise Gluck
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Categories: 21st Century, American, Women
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (208 pages)
(Pub. Apr 2021)
9781800171558
£14.99 £13.49
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(Pub. Apr 2021)
9781800171565
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(Pub. Apr 2021)
9781800171572
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • The probing essays collected in American Originality scrutinise the terms we use to think about recent American poetry, its antecedents (not just Whitman and Dickinson but Ovid, Rilke, Thomas Mann, Keats) and its future, questioning how we distinguish between work that is unique and work that is original, carefully delineating the allure of both 'shared traditions' and 'the cult of illogic'. Attentive always to risk and danger, Louise Glück illuminates how the poet at work moves between panic and gratitude, agony and resolution.

    Essays on specific writers and on the larger themes of American literature introduce the terms by which she reads and celebrates ten younger poets whose work she has advocated. Studded with brilliant insights into her own practice and the work of her contemporaries, this is an essential book for any interested reader of new poetry.
    Louise Glűck is the author of twelve books of poems and two collections of essays. She received the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature "for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal." Her other awards include the National Humanities Medal, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, ... read more
    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)
    'These essays constitute long-form extensions of Gluck's own poetic concerns... people familiar with Glück's poetry will recognise this hallmark astringency and its attendant whiplash wit'

    Dzifa Benson, The Poetry Review

    '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

    Praise for Louise Glück 'A slim volume of just 15 pieces, but like all the Nobel laureate's work, it punches above its apparent weight. Glück has always been a fastidiously exact truth-teller; her lucid poems pretend to a plainness that's really the simplicity of something more fully worked out than the rest of us can manage. It is a hallmark of late, great writing, as is the courage to go into the dark... We're back in the stylised, half-dreamed Glück landscapes that are rural equivalents of an Edward Hopper painting, and back with her astonishing poetry'

    Fiona Sampson, The Guardian
    '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.'
    Publishers Weekly
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