Reviews for Wild Iris


Library Journal Reviews 1992 May #2
Gluck's sixth collection presents a series of spare, somber lyrics on the predicament of mortality. Through the ostensible medium of prayer--many of the poems are titled either ``Matins'' or ``Vespers''--she gives tongue to both voiceless creations (the short-lived snowdrops who say they are ``afraid, yes, but among you again/ crying yes risk joy/ in the raw wind of the new world'') and to Creator (``you are worth/ one life, no more than that''), as well as to her own ambivalence toward a higher power (``In what contempt do you hold us/ to believe only loss can impress/ your power on us''). Though the poems glimmer more than gleam, repeated readings unveil subtle reversals and shadings, evoking the ghostly consciousness that has always invested Gluck's best work.-- Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, N.Y. Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1992 May #2
The award-winning author of The Triumph of Achilles looks here at relations between heaven and earth. More than half of the poems address an ``unreachable father,'' or are spoken in a voice meant to be his: ``Your souls should have been immense by now, / not what they are, / small talking things . . . This ambitious and original work consists of a series of ``matins,'' ``vespers,'' poems about flowers, and others about the seasons or times of day, carrying forward a dialogue between the human and divine. This is poetry of great beauty, where lamentation, doubt and praise show us a god who can blast or console, but who too often leaves us alone; Gluck, then, wishes to understand a world where peace ``rushes through me, / . . . like bright light through the bare tree.'' Only rarely (in ``The Doorway,'' for example) does the writing fail. But when dialogue melds with lyricism, the result is splendid. In ``Violets'' the speaker tells her ``dear / suffering master'': ``you / are no more lost / than we are, under / the hawthorn tree, the hawthorn holding / balanced trays of pearls.'' This important book has a powerful, muted strangeness. (June) Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information.

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