Meadowlands

Meadowlands

by Louise Glück
     
 

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In an astonishing book-length sequence, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Gluck interweaves the dissolution of a contemporary marriage with the story of The Odyssey. Here is Penelope stubbornly weaving, elevating the act of waiting into an act of will; here, too, is a worldly Circe, a divided Odysseus, and a shrewd adolescent Telemachus. Through these

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Overview

In an astonishing book-length sequence, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Gluck interweaves the dissolution of a contemporary marriage with the story of The Odyssey. Here is Penelope stubbornly weaving, elevating the act of waiting into an act of will; here, too, is a worldly Circe, a divided Odysseus, and a shrewd adolescent Telemachus. Through these classical figures, Meadowlands explores such timeless themes as the endless negotiation of family life, the cruelty that intimacy enables, and the frustrating trivia of the everyday. Gluck discovers in contemporary life the same quandary that lies at the heart of The Odyssey: the "unanswerable/affliction of the human heart: how to divide/the world's beauty into acceptable/and unacceptable loves."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Glck's seventh collection (following The Wild Iris, 1993's Pulitzer winner) interleaves vignettes of the Odyssey and a distressed modern marriage. Grimly serious parables, amusing but disquieting spousal conversations and insightful commentaries written in the voice of Telemachus, Odysseus's son, season the 46 poems. Assessing his parents' lives, Telemachus observes, "heartbreaking, but also/ insane. Also/ very funny." In "Anniversary," Glck captures the particular cruelty made possible by intimacy: "Someone should teach you how to act in bed./ ...Look what you did-/ you made the cat move." In another, the depths of marital alienation are captured by a woman who weeps, holding a bag of garbage in an unlit garage at midnight: "...is this the way the heart/ behaves when it grieves: it wants to be alone with the garbage?" Despite humor, there is little joy. Glck sees, in daily life as in Odysseus's heroic one, the "unanswerable/ affliction of the human heart: how to divide/ the world's beauty into acceptable/ and unacceptable loves." These compressed and tightly focused poems are organized into a short collection of exceptional punch. (Apr.)
Library Journal
The lyrical Gluck, who won a Pulitzer for The Wild Iris, uses the Odyssey to illuminate contemporary marriage in the "chastened, spiritual" poems of Meadowlands. (LJ 3/15/96)
Booknews
A sociological study of a alternative health care organization, developed from a symbolic interactionist perspective that assumes even the least dramatic action to have meaning for those who engage in it. Discusses the political consequences of the meanings and the constraints that unfairly advantage some groups or individuals and disadvantage others. Particularly investigates how people who considered themselves alternative managed to reproduce conventional gender inequalities. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780880015066
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/28/1997
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
80
Sales rank:
1,388,658
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.17(d)

Read an Excerpt

Penelope's Song

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;
it behooves you to be
generous. You have not been completely
perfect either; with your troublesome body
you have done things you shouldn't
discuss in poems. Therefore
call out to him over the open water, over the bright water
with your dark song, with your grasping,
unnatural song--passionate,
like Maria Callas. Who
wouldn't want you? Whose most demonic appetite
could you possibly fail to answer? Soon
he will return from wherever he goes in the meantime,
suntanned from his time away, wanting
his grilled chicken. Ali, you must greet him,
you must shake the boughs of the tree
to get his attention,
but carefully, carefully, lest
his beautiful face be marred
by too many falling needles.
Medowlands. Copyright � by Louise Gluck. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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