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Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (80 pages)
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'
Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2020
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.'
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 '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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