A Village Life, Louise GlĂĽckâ€™s eleventh collection of poems, begins in the topography of a village, a Mediterranean world of no definite moment or place:Â All the roads in the village unite at the fountain.Avenue of Liberty, Avenue of the Acacia Treesâ€”The fountain rises at the center of the plaza;on sunny days, rainbows in the piss of the cherub.â€”from â€śtributariesâ€ťÂ Around the fountain are concentric circles of figures, organized by age and in degrees of distance: fields, a river, and, like the fountainâ€™s opposite, a mountain. Human time superimposed on geologic time, all taken in at a glance, without any undue sensation of speed. GlĂĽck has been known as a lyrical and dramatic poet; since Ararat, she has shaped her austere intensities into book-length sequences. Here, for the first time, she speaks as â€śthe type of describing, supervising intelligence found in novels rather than poetry,â€ť as Langdon Hammer has written of her long linesâ€”expansive, fluent, and fullâ€”manifesting a calm omniscience. While GlĂĽckâ€™s manner is novelistic, she focuses not on action but on pauses and intervals, moments of suspension (rather than suspense), in a dreamlike present tense in which poetic speculation and reflection are possible.
Literature & Fiction, World Literature, United States,