Vita Nova

Vita Nova

by Louise Glück
     
 

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Since, 1990, Louise Glück has been exploring a form that is, according to poet Robert Hass, her invention. Vita Nova — like its immediate predecessors, a book-length sequence — combines the ecstatic utterance of The Wild Iris with the worldly dramas elaborated in Meadowlands. Vita Nova is a book that exists in the long moment of

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Overview

Since, 1990, Louise Glück has been exploring a form that is, according to poet Robert Hass, her invention. Vita Nova — like its immediate predecessors, a book-length sequence — combines the ecstatic utterance of The Wild Iris with the worldly dramas elaborated in Meadowlands. Vita Nova is a book that exists in the long moment of spring, a book of deaths and beginnings, resignation and hope, brutal, luminous, and farseeing. Like late Yeats, Vita Nova dares large statement. By turns stern interlocutor and ardent novitiate, Glück compasses the essential human paradox, a terrifying act of perspective that brings into resolution the smallest human hope and the vast forces that shape and thwart it.

Editorial Reviews

Bookforum
The book exists at the vanishing point of light. What's left is not darkness, but the amniotic of soul, and hence the title, Vita Nova, new life.
Library Journal
Glück's ninth collection flips between the mythic utterances of her earlier work and the tragicomic personal realism of her most recent book, Meadowlands (LJ 3/15/96). A literal point of departure,Vita Nova picks up where Meadowlands left off: after a marital breakup, when single life in a new locale eerily recalls life before marriage. It is framed by two poems of the same name ("Vita Nova," of course)--one spoken by Persephone, the other an ironic address concerning a dream, a divorce, and a dog named Blizzard: "Blizzard/ Daddy needs you/...the kind of love he wants Mommy/ doesn't have, Mommy's/ too ironic--Mommy wouldn't do/ the rhumba in the driveway." Glück's probing, intimate voice takes the reader hostage, and her quiet, bitter humor penetrates to the bone: "In the bathtub, I examine my body./ We're supposed to do that./...I was vigilant: when I touched myself/ I didn't feel anything." Abstract without being vague, personal without being maudlin, Glück's exquisitely crafted work continues to astound. For all poetry collections.--Ellen Kaufman, Dewey Ballantine Law Lib., New York
People Magazine
...Gluck explores that terrible interval between the loss of a love and the stirrings of new life and new emotions...

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060957957
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/28/2001
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
64
Sales rank:
932,878
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.17(d)

Read an Excerpt

Vita Nova

You saved me, you should remember me.

The spring of the year; young men buying tickets for the
ferryboats.
Laughter, because the air is full of apple blossoms.

When I woke up, I realized I was capable of the same
feeling.

I remember sounds like that from my childhood,
laughter for no cause, simply because the world is
beautiful,
something like that.

Lugano. Tables under the apple trees.
Deckhands raising and lowering the colored flags.
And by the lake's edge, a young man throws his hat into
the water;
perhaps his sweetheart has accepted him.

Crucial
sounds or gestures like
a track laid down before the larger themes

and then unused, buried.

Islands in the distance. My mother
holding out a plate of little cakes—

as far as I remember, changed
in no detail, the moment
vivid, intact, having never been
exposed to light, so that I woke elated, at my age
hungry for life, utterly confident—

By the tables, patches of new grass, the pale green
pieced into the dark existing ground.

Surely spring has been returned to me, this time
not as a lover but a messenger of death, yet
it is still spring, it is still meant tenderly.

Meet the Author

Louise Glück won the Pulitzer Prize for The Wild Iris in 1993. The author of eight books of poetry and one collection of essays, Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry, she has received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, the William Carlos Williams Award, and the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction. She was named the next U.S. poet laureate in August 2003. Her most recent book is The Seven Ages. Louise Glück teaches at Williams College and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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