In Memoriam, Louise Glück

13 October, 2023 -- Today I am mourning, like many, and in the midst of many griefs, the loss of the great poet Louise Glück. Her poems have been my steady companions throughout my writing life. Her last book of poems, Winter Recipes from the Collective, haunts me. 

From "Night Thoughts,"

     Long ago I was born. 
     There is no one alive anymore
     who remembers me as a baby.  

And from "Poem,"

     Day and night come
     hand in hand like a boy and a girl
     pausing only to eat wild berries out of a dish
     painted with pictures of birds.

The pared language, the images scoured of excess, yet tender, so tender, those berries in a painted dish, the familiar movement of day and night, the way her thoughts move - how will I manage without any more new Louise Glück poems? 

Ten years ago when I started this catalogue of reading poems and trying to speak about them, or at least about the reading, I began with Louise Glück's "Telescope." My second post was Louise Glück's "Summer Night." The third, a few words about "Summer Night." 

The friends I had asked for feedback on my project suggested I branch out, in case people thought it was a blog about Louise Glück. 

In a way, though, it is. Her poems are among my best teachers and guides. Each poem, each time I return to it, speaks with depth and freshness that seem both familiar and new. 

As this, from "Summer Night,"

     Desire, loneliness, wind in the flowering almond—
     surely these are the great, the inexhaustible subjects
     to which my predecessors apprenticed themselves.
     I hear them echo in my own heart, disguised as convention.

     Balm of the summer night, balm of the ordinary,
     imperial joy and sorrow of human existence,
     the dreamed as well as the lived—
     what could be dearer than this, given the closeness of death?

That great poems speak through the ages is a truism. Louise Glück's poems prove its truth.
Long live Louise Glück!