American Originality: Essays on Poetry

Louise Glück. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25 (208p) ISBN 978-0-374-71675-2
In Glück’s second book of essays (after Proofs and Theories), she carefully considers the makeup of the American aesthetic as a doctor would diagnose a patient. She begins with pragmatism, noting that an alternative interpretation of “self-made” is to make oneself up; in other words, create a self that is a lie. In discussing contemporary poetic narcissism’s historical roots, Glück denounces weak imitations of Dickinson and Rilke. She explores uses of non sequitur, both effective, such as by Frank O’Hara, and ineffective, as vehicles for “intellectual fraud.” Glück’s characteristic wit and incisiveness are ever present. In highlighting C.K. Williams’s ability to contain multiple universes of alternate scenarios, she declares these poems to “have more other hands than a Hindu god.” In “Fear of Happiness,” Glück explores the artistic fixation on suffering, arguing that the artist who insists on pain as a prerequisite to creation is locked in a cycle of dependency and—even worse—banality. The middle section contains introductory essays culled from a decade of judging first-book poetry prizes, including illuminating analysis of Dana Levin, Richard Siken, and Jessica Fisher, among others. This is advanced literary theory, requiring careful reading and a fair amount of background knowledge of contemporary poetry, but Glück’s tone is conversational and accessible, and her opinions are invaluable. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 238 pages - 978-0-387-24505-8
Hardcover - 90 pages - 978-0-309-53179-5
Paperback - 103 pages - 978-3-540-24511-7
Paperback - 146 pages - 978-1-57839-337-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4019-0440-1
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-415-23010-0
Hardcover - 890 pages - 978-0-421-85960-9
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-321-26220-2
Paperback - 112 pages - 978-0-595-33331-8
Hardcover - 1958 pages - 978-1-4020-3387-2
Paperback - 140 pages - 978-0-595-33471-1
Compact Disc - 6 pages - 978-0-7393-2105-8
Hardcover - 132 pages - 978-84-7496-968-9
Hardcover - 363 pages - 978-1-4020-3402-2
DVD-Video
Hardcover - 335 pages - 978-0-691-12407-0
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-1147-9
Paperback - 168 pages - 978-0-7599-4673-6
Library Binding - 128 pages - 978-0-7377-3221-4
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-2209-3
Show other formats
FORMATS
Discover what to read next
TIP SHEET
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X
X