The Poetry Book Group is led by Gwenn Gebhard and meets online the 4th Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Please contact bookgroups@politics-prose for information to join.
WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE
A haunting new book by a poet whose voice speaks of all our lifetimes
Louise Glück’s thirteenth book is among her most haunting. Here as in the Wild Iris there is a chorus, but the speakers are entirely human, simultaneously spectral and ancient. Winter Recipes from the Collective is chamber music, an invitation into that privileged realm small enough for the individual instrument to make itself heard, dolente, its line sustained, carried, and then taken up by the next instrument, spirited, animoso, while at the same time being large enough to contain a whole lifetime, the inconceivable gifts and losses of old age, the little princesses rattling in the back of a car, an abandoned passport, the ingredients of an invigorating winter sandwich, a sister’s death, the joyful presence of the sun, its brightness measured by the darkness it casts.
“Some of you will know what I mean,” the poet says, by which she means, some of you will follow me. Hers is the sustaining presence, the voice containing all our lifetimes, “all the worlds, each more beautiful than the last.” This magnificent book couldn’t have been written by anyone else, nor could it have been written by the poet at any other time in her life.
Named a Best Book of the Year by Financial Times, Irish Times, Library Journal, Lit Hub, and NPR
"An exquisitely small collection—the way an atom that contains the world is small—that further solidifies Glück’s place as one of the eminent poets of our time . . . These recipes for winter offer a robust meal that feeds both spirit and soul, about the nature of life, and time, prepared by one of our finest poets." —Mandana Chaffa, The Chicago Review of Books
"[Winter Recipes from the Collective] is refreshing in its willingness to confront the uncertainties and anxieties ignited by our current predicament, in which predictions of our collective future alternate between the terrifying and the inscrutable . . . Reading Glück’s new poems is a joyful experience, as reading great poetry always is." —Troy Jollimore, The Washington Post
"Winter Recipes from the Collective is . . . a book of fifteen poems ghostly, spectral, and often attenuated . . . These poems have the contemplative force and invitation of haiku. They start deep and sink deeper, happy to be as prosy and plain as a Midwestern summer. This is a brilliant, scary book." —William Logan, The New Criterion
"This is an intensely technical book and a work of extreme concision, in which complicated feelings have been pared down to their minimum and a life’s worth of experience reduced to strange, sometimes tender and sometimes ominous detail." —Anahid Nersessian, The New York Review of Books
“[Glück is] a masterful writer who delights in weaving surprises into her poetry. She does not serve up easy interpretations or convenient summaries. And, for a poet who is accused of being too cool for her own good, Glück frequently dabbles in warmth and humor, both qualities amply displayed in this volume . . .The poems in Winter Recipes from the Collective are about bearing with life in a barren place; they do the kind of singing Bertolt Brecht said was necessary when dealing with ‘the dark times.’ This is not to say that Glück does not, on occasion, provide a fleeting sense of harmony, even joy. But that sense of elation depends on a leap of faith.” —Robert Israel, The Arts Fuse
"Glück’s work builds on an inquiring sense of wonder over our human experience and fortitude . . . The Nobel committee praised the 'austere beauty' of Glück’s poems; this marvelous collection adds warmth and wit." —Raúl Niño, Booklist (Starred Review)
“[Glück is] a fastidiously exact truth-teller; her lucid poems pretend to a plainness that’s really the simplicity of something more fully worked out than the rest of us can manage . . . [Winter Recipes from the Collective] examines close relationships without the sweetener of correct sentiment, recording the universal stages of human life through a woman’s experience. We’re back in the stylised, half-dreamed Glück landscapes that are rural equivalents of an Edward Hopper painting, and back with her astonishing poetry, as the world goes by, / All the worlds, each more beautiful than the last.” —Fiona Sampson, The Guardian (UK)
“It seems to me that Glück’s preoccupations are what poetry is for . . . [Her voice] is dazzlingly, thrillingly cold, like the coldness of nights we call glittering.” —Elisa Gabbert, The New York Times
“[Winter Recipes from the Collective] mines the variegated beats of human existence for something shared and intimate . . . beckoning the reader to enter in conversation with one of the great poets of our times.” —Kevin Lozano, Vulture
"Glück considers a primary human loneliness in humane, reflective poems that are deeply engaged with the idea of being alone with oneself . . . With this magnificent collection, a great poet delivers a treatise on how to live and die." —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“Louise Glück speaks in softer voices in her first post-Nobel collection . . . [T]here is an unlikely kind of comfort here, as well as a kind of dark resolve, the knowledge that luck and joy are always fleeting . . . Reading her, I feel much less alone.” —Craig Morgan Teicher, NPR
“Aside from the complex emotional tenor of these poems, what makes them so readable is the narration—image succeeding image in a convincing flow of perception—and Glück’s agile free verse . . . Casual yet perfect, conversational yet inevitable, the verse fully formed yet informal, Glück . . . is a master of lyric narrative . . . This new collection offers some of [Glück’s] best work . . . Everyone seriously interested in poetry will be reading these for years to come.” —William Doreski, Harvard Review
"Robert Frost said the work of poetry is 'getting into danger legitimately so that we may be genuinely rescued.' After half a century of sizing up the dangers that disturb the soul, Glück is tending to the redemptive part of the poet’s mission. In doing so, she’s able to draw on the benefits of age: looking back on past periods of darkness, she’s in a position to tell us with some authority that they are survivable (and worth surviving) . . . I imagine I’ll be finding solace in this book for the rest of my life." —Andrew Chan, 4 Columns
“Glück’s images are crisp and fable-like, her language deceptively accessible, but her poems resist any kind of definitive interpretation: You have to decide what they mean for yourself.” —Irene Katz Connelly, Forward