Winter 2001 • Vol. XXIII No. 1 Book Reviews |

To Speak of Woe

Vita Nova by Louise Glück. New York: Eco Press, 1999. 51 pages. $22. Since her debut collection Firstborn (1968), Louise Glück's poems have thrummed with tension—linguistic, psychological, emotional—the best of them embodying those tensions simultaneously. In her most recent book, Vita Nova, she presents us with a narrator stretched to the point of breaking. The difficult persona of these poems produces an intimacy as forbidding as it is inviting, showing this poet at both her most exposed and her most aggressive: where Glück's previous book Meadowlands (1996) dramatized the demise of the poet's marriage, Vita Nova records the aftermath. Her personae in her previous books have seemed vulnerable but powerful. Here, however, the poet's persona seems disconcertingly passive: she rarely acts but is acted upon. The outcome is a book of poems that narrate—take control of—a person's lack of control in her life, confirming her statement in her essay "Education of the Poet" tha

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By Brian Henry

Vita Nova by Louise Glück. New York: Eco Press, 1999. 51 pages. $22. Since her debut collection Firstborn (1968), Louise Glück's poems have thrummed with tension—linguistic, psychological, emotional—the best of […]

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By Brian Henry

Vita Nova by Louise Glück. New York: Eco Press, 1999. 51 pages. $22. Since her debut collection Firstborn (1968), Louise Glück's poems have thrummed with tension—linguistic, psychological, emotional—the best of […]

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