William Logan on Louise Gluck
Louise Gluck's A Village Life (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2009) is reviewed by William Logan in today's New York Times Book Review.* It is difficult to say which person (poet or critic) deserves the other more. Logan actually seems to like Gluck's poetry (his standard ratio of slams-to-compliments is reversed, standing in this review at approximately 1:2--I almost shouted "Hey, Mikey!").
Logan describes Louise Gluck's new book as "a subversive departure for a poet used to meaning more than she can say," a non-insight which strikes me as meaning less than it wants to.
But enough of William Logan; Louise Gluck wants our attention. At a respectful distance, of course.
Louise Gluck reminds me of Jorie Graham, in that while I find it necessary to read her work--and always learn something from her--I have never much liked her poetry. Gluck is an Apollonian for whom the moon is always waning; her poetry's preoccupation is with how others have failed to properly love and understand her. Because the world--because men, because all of us--so fail to meet Gluck's needs, it is difficult for an attentive reader not to become exasperated. One wants to say, "Hey, Louise, we're having a party over here, we're dancing; anytime you decide to join us, let us know."
One must finally turn away from the humorless girl in the self-enameled corner, holding her breath until she turns blue.
What is compelling--even riveting--about our work when we are 26 can become tedious when we are 66.
*‘Nothing Remains of Love,’ by William Logan, a review of Village Life by Louise Gluck, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, (2009), New York Times Book Review, August 27, 2009.