Averno, a crater lake in southern Italy, was for the Romans the entrance to the underworld, both gateway and impassable barrier between the living and the dead. This collection shows Averno as the only source of heat and light in a world turned to icy winter. Both epic and intimate in scope, it explores the enduring drama of love and death.
Louise Gluck's collection is a work of ends and beginnings. Her poetry comes in white-hot sequences of passionate intensity. "Vita Nova" is a sequence of poems which dramatises the end of a relationship and the beginning of a new life.
Finalist for the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry-an erotic, powerful collection "One of the best books of contemporary poetry."-Victoria Chang, Huffington Post "Vital, immediate, and cinematic in scope."-Library Journal (Best Poetry of 2005) Selected by Nobel Prize laureate and competition judge Louise Gluck as the 2004 winner of the Yale Younger Poets prize, Richard Siken's Crush is a powerful collection of poems driven by obsession and love. Siken writes with ferocity, and his reader hurtles unstoppably with him. His poetry is confessional, gay, savage, and charged with violent eroticism. In the world of American poetry, Siken's voice is striking. In her introduction to the book, Gluck hails the "cumulative, driving, apocalyptic power, [and] purgatorial recklessness" of Siken's poems. She notes, "Books of this kind dream big. . . . They restore to poetry that sense of crucial moment and crucial utterance which may indeed be the great genius of the form."
Includes "Penelope's Song" in which the author interweaves in a book-length sequence an account of the dissolution of a contemporary marriage with the story of Homer's "Odyssey". This collection of poetry also explores the notion of the "nostos", the homecoming.
The poems in this collection are written in the language of flowers. Louise Gluck received the Pulitzer Prize for "The Wild Iris" in 1993, and has also received the National Book Critics Award for Poetry and the Poetry Society of America's Melville Kane Award.
For the past fifty years, Louise Gluck has been a major force in modern poetry, distinguished as much for the restless intelligence, wit and intimacy of her poetic voice as for her development of a particular form: the book-length sequence of poems. This volume brings together the twelve collections Gluck has published to date, offering readers the opportunity to become immersed in the artistry and vision of one of the world's greatest living poets.From the allegories of The Wild Iris to the myth-making of Averno; the oneiric landscapes of The House on Marshland to the questing of Faithful and Virtuous Night - each of Gluck's collections looks upon the events of an ordinary life and finds within them scope for the transcendent; each wields its archetypes to puncture the illusions of the self. Across her work, elements are reiterated but endlessly transfigured - Persephone, a copper beech, a mother and father and sister, a garden, a husband and son, a horse, a dog, a field on fire, a mountain. Taken together, the effect is like a shifting landscape seen from above, at once familiar and unspeakably profound.
This startlingly original reworking of the Persephone myth takes us to the icy shores of Averno, the crater lake regarded by the ancient Romans as the entrance to the underworld. Here, the consolations of rebirth and renewal are eclipsed by the immediacy of loss - by a mother's possessive grief, an abducted girl's equivocal memories, a farmer's lament for a lost harvest. This chorus offers neither comfort nor solace but deepened understanding, its sorrow textured by the poet's luminous wit. Together, the poems of Averno swell to a staggeringly powerful lamentation, through which the reader glimpses the ecstasy of the inevitable, only to find it resisted by the insistent, impersonal presence of the Earth.
The themes of the previous volume of poetry define the tasks of the next for Louise Gluck. This collection shows the poet in this evolution. It includes: "Firstborn" (1968); "The House on Marshland" (1975); "Descending Figure" (1980); "The Triumph of Achilles" (1985); and "Ararat" (1990).