cover image Faithful and Virtuous Night

Faithful and Virtuous Night

Louise Glück. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $23 (96p) ISBN 978-0-374-15201-7

Glück’s 12th collection, her first since Poems 1962–2012, is one where myth, long a primary concern of hers, takes a backseat to more quotidian affairs. “Mist covered the stage (my life)./ Characters came and went, costumes were changed,/ my brush hand moved side to side/ far from the canvas,/ side to side,” Glück writes, “I took a deep breath. And it came to me/ the person who drew that breath/ was not the person in my story.” While readers familiar with Glück will recognize her voice, here she is more conversational, more grounded in the materiality of human experience: “First divesting ourselves of worldly goods,” the book begins, “we had then to discuss/ whither or where we might travel, with the second question being/ should we have a purpose.” Whether through long poems or short prose bursts, she returns to stillness and night as the baselines for human experience, stages upon which the human drama unfolds. “I was aware of movement around me, my fellow beings/ driven by a mindless fetish for action—// How deeply I resisted this!” Glück notes, “truth as I saw it/ was expressed as stillness.” Characteristically sure-footed, Glück speaks to our time in a voice that is onstage, but heard from the wings. Agent: Wylie Agency. (Sept.)