A Village Life (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
In her well-crafted collection of poetry, A Village Life, Pulitzer Prize-winner Louise Glück escorts her readers to an unnamed and undated Mediterranean village so universal that it could be anywhere. In these poems, Glück’s major focus is on time and its rapid and relentless movement forward. In one poem, “Primavera,” Glück declares, “Alas, very soon everything will disappear:In the end,/ even the earth itself will follow the artist’s name into oblivion.”
Glück observes that humans resist and resent the merciless march of time. In “A Slip of Paper,” she writes, “To get born, your body makes a pact with death/ and from that moment, all it tries to do is cheat.” The stages of life, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age, and death are all universal but are experienced differently by each person. Using incisive themes, creative image patterns, and abrupt shifts in tone, Glück elevates common life experiences to uncommon art in the forty-one poems of A Village Life.
Mutability and the transience of all living things is a major theme that informs A Village Life. Not only do adulthood and old age move rapidly, inexorably toward death, but also even childhood, Glück asserts, coexists with its opposite. “The fountain is for the young who still want to look at themselves,” Glück writes in “Tributaries,” while old age stands over youth’s shoulder. In “At the River,” childhood...
(The entire section is 1939 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2010)
America 202, no. 1 (January 4, 2010): 24-25.
Booklist 106, no. 2 (September 15, 2009): 18.
Library Journal 134, no. 13 (August 1, 2009): 86.
The New York Times Book Review, August 30, 2009, p.14.
Publishers Weekly 256, no. 38 (September 21, 2009): 40.
(The entire section is 23 words.)