Thursday, July 02, 2009

Meadowlands by Louise Glück

This volume of poetry is part of my reading assignments for a graduate poetry seminar. These connected poems weave through Homer’s Odyssey with appearances by Penelope, Telemachus, Odysseus, Circe, the Sirens, Greek soldiers, along with a few references to the Bible. The overarching theme is loss and separation and sadness.

Glück connects these serial poems (the subject of the assignment) with a variety of threads – birds, flowers, music – and a series of parables on the king, hostages, a trellis, a beast, a dove, flight, swans, faith, and a gift.

Quoting individual poems in the series will not give the flavor or the unity of this collection, but there were a few outstanding lines that especially struck me. For example, “from this point on, the silence through which you move/is my voice pursuing you” (5); “change your form and you change your nature/And time does this to us” (32); and “if I am in her head forever/I am in your life forever” (46).

Part of the fun of this collection is piecing together these individual poems and seeing how they fit into the overall narrative of Homer’s epic poem.

A great collection of poetry – even for those who do not read a lot of poetry. 5 stars

--Chiron, 7/2/09

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