Wild Iris

Overview

This collection of stunningly beautiful poems encompasses the natural, human, and spiritual realms, and is bound together by the universal themes of time and mortality. With clarity and sureness of craft, Gluck's poetry questions, explores, and finally celebrates the ordeal of being alive.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

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Overview

This collection of stunningly beautiful poems encompasses the natural, human, and spiritual realms, and is bound together by the universal themes of time and mortality. With clarity and sureness of craft, Gluck's poetry questions, explores, and finally celebrates the ordeal of being alive.

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The award-winning author of The Triumph of Achilles looks here at relations between heaven and earth. More than half of the poems address an ``unreachable father,'' or are spoken in a voice meant to be his: ``Your souls should have been immense by now, / not what they are, / small talking things . . . This ambitious and original work consists of a series of ``matins,'' ``vespers,'' poems about flowers, and others about the seasons or times of day, carrying forward a dialogue between the human and divine. This is poetry of great beauty, where lamentation, doubt and praise show us a god who can blast or console, but who too often leaves us alone; Gluck, then, wishes to understand a world where peace ``rushes through me, / . . . like bright light through the bare tree.'' Only rarely (in ``The Doorway,'' for example) does the writing fail. But when dialogue melds with lyricism, the result is splendid. In ``Violets'' the speaker tells her ``dear / suffering master'': ``you / are no more lost / than we are, under / the hawthorn tree, the hawthorn holding / balanced trays of pearls.'' This important book has a powerful, muted strangeness. (June)
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)
From Barnes & Noble
In this sixth collection of Gluck's poetry, ecstatic imagination supplants both empiricism and traditions, creating an impassioned exchange among the divine, the human, and the natural world.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780880013345
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/28/1993
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 341,987
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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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Read an Excerpt

The Wild Iris

At the end of my suffering
there was a door.

Hear me out: that which you call death
I remember.

Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun
flickered over the dry surface.

It is terrible to survive
as consciousness
buried in the dark earth.

Then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.

You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns to find a voice:

from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure seawater.

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Table of Contents

The Wild Iris 1
Matins 2
Matins 3
Trillium 4
Lamium 5
Snowdrops 6
Clear Morning 7
Spring Snow 9
End of Winter 10
Matins 12
Matins 13
Scilla 14
Retreating Wind 15
The Garden 16
The Hawthorn Tree 18
Love in Moonlight 19
April 20
Violets 21
Witchgrass 22
The Jacobás Ladder 24
Matins 25
Matins 26
Song 27
Field Flowers 28
The Red Poppy 29
Clover 30
Matins 31
Heaven and Earth 32
The Doorway 33
Midsummer 34
Vespers 36
Vespers 37
Vespers 38
Daisies 39
End of Summer 40
Vespers 42
Vespers 43
Vespers 44
Early Darkness 45
Harvest 46
The White Rose 47
Ipomoea 48
Presque Isle 49
Retreating Light 50
Vespers 52
Vespers: Parousia 53
Vespers 55
Vespers 56
Sunset 57
Lullaby 58
The Silver Lily 59
September Twilight 60
The Gold Lily 62
The White Lilies 63
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