The Wild Iris

The Wild Iris

4.19 (5,070 ratings by Goodreads)
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The Wild Iris was written during a ten-week period in the summer of 1991. Louise Cluck's first four collections consistently returned to the natural world, to the classical and biblical narratives that arose to explain the phenomena of this world, to provide meaning and to console. Ararat, her fifth book, offered a substitution for the received: a demotic, particularized myth of contemporary family. Now in The Wild Iris, her most important and accomplished collection to date, ecstatic imagination supplants both empiricism and tradition, creating an impassioned polyphonic exchange among the god who "disclose[s]/virtually nothing", human beings who "leave/signs of feeling/everywhere", and a garden where "whatever/returns from oblivion returns/ to find a voice". The poems of this sequence see beyond mortality, the bitter discovery on which individuality depends. "To be one thing/is to be next to nothing", Cluck challenges the reader. "Is it enough/only to look inward?" A major poet redefines her task--its thematic obsessions, its stylistic signature--with each volume. Visionary, shrewd, intuitive--and at once cyclical and apocalyptic--The Wild Iris is not a repudiation but a confirmation, an audacious feat of psychic ventriloquism, a fiercely original record of the spirit's obsession with, and awe of, more

Product details

  • Paperback | 80 pages
  • 149.86 x 226.06 x 10.16mm | 158.76g
  • Ecco Press
  • Hopewell, United States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0880013346
  • 9780880013345
  • 82,293

Review quote

"There are a few living poets whose new poems one always feels eager to read. Louise Gluck ranks at the Cop of the list. Her writing's emotional and rhetorical intensity are beyond dispute. Not once in six books has she wavered from a formal seriousness, an unhurried sense of control and a starkness of expression that, like a scalpel, slices the mist dwelling between hope and pain."-- David Biespiel, "The Washington Post""Louise Gluck is a poet of strong and haunting presence. Her poems, published in a series of memorable books over the last twenty years, have achieved the unusual distinction of being neither "confessional" nor "Intellectual" in the usual senses of those words, which are often thought to represent two camps in the life of poetry.... What a strange book "The Wild Iris" is, appearing in this "fin-de-siecle, " written in the language of flowers. It Is a "lieder" cycle, with all the mournful cadences of that form. It wagers everything on the poetic energy remaining in the old troubadour image of the spring, the Biblical lilies of the field, natural resurrection."-- Helen Vendler, "The New Republic"show more

Rating details

5,070 ratings
4.19 out of 5 stars
5 46% (2,342)
4 33% (1,669)
3 16% (807)
2 4% (196)
1 1% (56)
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