Author(s): Louise Glück
Averno is a small crater lake in southern Italy, regarded by the ancient Romans as the entrance to the underworld. That place gives its name to Louise Gluck's tenth collection: in a landscape turned irretrievably to winter, it is a gate or passageway that invites traffic between worlds while at the same time resisting their reconciliation. "Averno" is an extended lamentation, its long, restless poems no less spellbinding for being without conventional resoltution or consolation, no less ravishing for being savage, grief-stricken. What "Averno" provides is not a map to a point of arrival or departure, but a diagram of where we are, the harrowing, enduring present. Review: " Brilliant [poems of] complex, haunting power . . . "Averno" may be Glu ck' s masterpiece. Certainly it demonstrates that she is writing at the peak of her powers." - Nicholas Christopher, "The New York Times Book Review""" " Few poets can shoulder the weight of myth the way Glu ck does . . . The poems brilliantly display a poet' s insight, a mother' s warmth, and a mortal' s empathy. There is wry humor, too, and, amid much that is dark, there are fragments of hope." - "The New Yorker" There are a few living poets whose new poems one always feels eager to read. Louise Gluck ranks at the top of the list. Her writing's emotional and rhetorical intensity are beyond dispute. Not once in six books has she wavered from a formal seriousness, an unhurried sense of control and a starkness of expression that, like a scalpel, slices the mist dwelling between hope and pain." --David Biespiel, "The Washington Post"