A Village Life
By Louise Gluck
- Author: Louise Gluck
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Published: September 2010
- ISBN-10: 0374532435
- ISBN-13: 9780374532437
- Format: Paperback
- Copyright: 2009
- Subject: POETRY / American / General
What makes a great poem? Voice, as former U.S. poet laureate Glck said in Proofs &;; Theories, her 1994 essay collection; poems will not survive on content alone. The Wild Iris, which received the Pulitzer Prize in 1993 and established Glck as a poet to be reckoned with, offers a telling example of the mesmerizing power of voice. Unfortunately, only a few of the poems in this 11th collection could be called mesmerizing. Written from the outside looking in, the poems concern love, courtship, sexual liaisons, birth, and death as experienced by ordinary inhabitants of a nameless village, as well as the earthworms, bats, dogs, and mice that co-inhabit the place. A first-person narrator holds the poems together and gives the collection its somewhat bleak focus. VERDICT Readers will be reminded of Edgar Lee Masters's Spoon River Anthology, especially as the poet notes the underlying ";;savagery of this place,/ the way it kills people for no reason.";; But instead of presenting an insightful portrait brimming with irony la Masters, Glck's poetry seems more like a quick sketch. Recommended for those who read poetry extensively.—Diane Scharper, Towson Univ., MD
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