cover image Proofs and Theories

Proofs and Theories

Louise Glueck, Louise Gluck. Ecco, $22 (134pp) ISBN 978-0-88001-369-7

Although Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gluck ( The Wild Iris ) maintains that she is ``uneasy with commentary,'' her collection of 16 essays, all previously published in literary journals, is often profound. The subjects of her writing include poets Stanley Kunitz, Hugh Seidman, T. S. Eliot; the future (considered in a 1993 Williams College graduation address); education; and the nature of courage. Yet the real lure of her commentary is sensibility, even more than subject. As with her poetry, Gluck's prose is fine and pared but visionary; her intelligence is precise and earnest. She uses mind as a moral power, whether addressing experience or literature. For instance, in ``Disinterestedness,'' Gluck writes in support of an ideal of reading with nearly bias-free receptivity that literary theorists may scoff, but is liberating and persuasive as she explains it. Here and elsewhere, Gluck's brevity, clarity and resolute independence are impressive. (Aug.)