Adios, Louise Glück


  1. Joe Hutchison
    Joe Hutchison October 19, 2023 at 12:18 pm .

    An oldie but a goodie, Beth! Thanks for posting. Here’s one from THE HOUSE ON MARSHLAND, suitable for Halloween:


    Even now this landscape is assembling.
    The hills darken. The oxen
    sleep in their blue yoke,
    the fields having been
    picked clean, the sheaves
    bound evenly and piled at the roadside
    among cinquefoil, as the toothed moon rises:

    This is the barrenness
    of harvest or pestilence.
    And the wife leaning out the window
    with her hand extended, as in payment,
    and the seeds
    distinct, gold, calling
    “Come here
    Come here, little one”

    And the soul creeps out of the tree.

    I should add that the wife’s summons is italicized in the original, not in quotes. I can’t seem to make italics in a comment box!

  2. Beth Paulson
    Beth Paulson October 19, 2023 at 11:27 am .

    Thank you, Joe, for your sharing your lucid words honoring Louise Gluck. She was an inspiration to me early on and I always wished I could hear her read in person. Here is one of my own favorites, a rather untypical short poem:

    Cottonmouth Country

    Fish bones walked the waves off Hatteras.
    And there were other signs
    That Death wooed us, by water, wooed us
    By land: among the pines
    An uncurled cottonmouth that rolled on moss
    Reared in the polluted air.
    Birth, not death, is the hard loss.
    I know. I also left a skin there.

  3. Patricia Dubrava
    Patricia Dubrava October 16, 2023 at 12:09 pm .

    When I earned my MA all those years ago someone gave me “The Wild Iris,” my introduction to Louise Glück. Insightful comments about her here and I love the poem you selected. Like Sisyphus’ work, you tell your students. No, they think, not for me. I’ll be atop that mountain in no time.

  4. Robert Cooperman
    Robert Cooperman October 16, 2023 at 11:11 am .

    If there is indeed a sacred and eternal mountain of the arts, she should be there.

  5. Gerard Smaldone
    Gerard Smaldone October 16, 2023 at 9:57 am .

    One of my favorite poets

  6. Joe Hutchison
    Joe Hutchison October 16, 2023 at 8:27 am .

    What a wonderful memory, Dan. I had no idea you’d studied with her! Such a privilege. If there is such a thing as an “old soul,” she certainly had one.

    And Karen, yes—read her! Her “Collected Poems” ( is like one of those memory palaces the Romans used to enhance their powers of recall. A wonder in itself. If Collecteds overwhelm you, I recommend starting with “The House on Marshland,” then “The Triumph of Achilles” and “The Wild Iris.”

    Lisa, your collection “The Hours I Keep” seems to me in the Glück ballpark. Great depth and great restraint making a delicious tension….

  7. Dan Guenther
    Dan Guenther October 16, 2023 at 8:01 am .

    Thanks Joe,
    What a profoundly wise poem, one that draws upon myth and ancient history, and one that reveals Nobel Laureate, Louise Gluck, as a person of multiple perspectives, holistic, and world centric. She was one of my teachers over fifty years ago when I attended the Iowa Workshop, empathetic and more sage than academic. In 1973, when I was transitioning back from a very dark place, she said I was the first Vietnam combat veteran she ever had in a class; and then she welcomed me home.

  8. Karen Douglass
    Karen Douglass October 16, 2023 at 7:20 am .

    Thanks for this, I’ll put her books on my wish list.

  9. Lisa Zimmerman
    Lisa Zimmerman October 16, 2023 at 5:54 am .

    Thank you for this thoughtful post on a remarkable poet.

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