Cover image for The seven ages
The seven ages
Glück, Louise, 1943-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Ecco Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
68 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3557.L8 S4 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The eagerly anticipated collection from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Wild Iris" and "Vita Nova" finds Gluck staring down at her own death, and in doing so, forces endless superimpositions of the possible on the impossible.

Author Notes

Louise Elizabeth Gluck, 1943 - Louise Gluck was born April 22, 1943 in New York City, New York. She grew up on Long Island and attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University, both in New York State. She is best known for her award winning collection entitled "The Wild Iris".

After graduation, Gluck began teaching poetry, accepting positions at various colleges and universities. In 1968, her first collection entitled "Firstborn" was published. Seven years later she published "The House on the Marshland", and in 1985, "The Triumph of Achilles" won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry. In 1993, she was an editor of The Best American Poetry anthology. Her last appointment was as Senior Lecturer in English at Williams College.

Louise Gluck is considered one of the most gifted poets of her generation. Known for her well-crafted use of verse and meter, she first garnered attention with "Firstborn", a collection of poetry from 1968. Full of angry emotion and disturbing tone, her poetry deals with the horrible and painful. In 1985, "The Triumph of Achilles" was released to thunderous applause, gaining awards in every category. It received the National Book Circle Award, the Boston Globe Literary Press Award and the Poetry Society of America's Melville Kane Award. Gluck has received the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, the Lannas Literary Award for Poetry, fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations and the National Endowments for the Arts. Her collection "Ararat", (1990) received the Rebekah Johnson Bobbett National Prize for Poetry. Other collections include "The Garden" and "The Wild Iris". The "Wild Iris", perhaps her most award winning collection acquired the highest honor possible in 1993, the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. It also received the Poetry Society of America's William Carlos Williams Award

In 1994 she was named Poet Laureate of Vermont, and was elected as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2003, she was named Poet Laureat of the United States.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The entire enterprise of poetry and the famously touted examined life come under the poet's unblinking scrutiny in this extraordinarily forthright collection. In Gluck's last book, Vita Nova (1999), poems glinting with classical allusions gave way to more personal works. Here Gluck stands exposed, as though she has renounced artifice in pursuit of understanding. "That was what I wanted: to be naked," she writes, and she is radiant in her frank self-questioning and glorious in her jousting tournament with time. At 50, Gluck muses on her childhood, which she believed was merely a way station and so was unprepared for just how very long the "wish to be elsewhere" persists. The earth itself disappoints, in spite of its bountiful beauty: "it will feed you, it will ravish you, / it will not keep you alive." All things sensual are untrustworthy, erased by death, though, as Gluck attests, the alternative is no safer. Having always dwelled ardently in the realm of thought, she's forever "waiting for my mind to save me," a state of being that readers will recognize with a jolt. Gluck's poems are so right, so true, they're virtually telepathic. Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Since the mid-1970s, critics and readers have admired Glck's spare, deceptively simple style; her poems subject the autobiographical, even confessional impulse to analytical rigor, arranging soul-searching questions and symbols into sequences frequently modeled on famous old texts the Odyssey or the biblical Creation. The stark intensities and challenging questions in Gluck's ninth book of poems investigate the disappointments, unfinished quests and unanswered questions that compose, arrange and ruin a life Glck's own, for example, and that of her older sister, who plays the pivotal role husbands and parents have played in some of her previous work. Glck dares her readers to ask, as they might have in childhood, general, harrowing questions: "Why do I suffer? Why am I ignorant?" She dares herself, as well, to live without answers: "I'm awake; I am in the world / I expect/ no further assurance." Careful scenes, queries and moments of self-analysis throughout the volume investigate time the ways in which we change in the course of a lifetime; the ways our minds change from moment to moment; and the ways in which time changes everything, creating "a world in process/ of shifting, of being made or dissolved,/ and yet we didn't live that way." Considering age and aging, summer and fall, "stasis" and constant loss, Gluck's new poems often forsake the light touch of her last few books for the grim wisdom she sought in the 1980s; at the same time, her lines on herself, young and old, and on these stages for her sister and herself, are frequently wise, densely crafted meditations on the odd possibility of "actual human growth." (Apr.) Forecast: Gluck won a Pulitzer, and a wider audience, with The Wild Iris (1993); subsequent explorations of more comic and casual modes have met mixed response. Last year's Vita Nova, however, was recently awarded the biannual Bollingen prize (including $50,000 cash) given by Yale University Library in honor of a recently published American collection which should generate sales for both books. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

"Ashes, disappointment" breathes one poem in this latest collection from Pulitzer Prize winner Glck (The Wild Iris), and indeed the tone of this entire collection is melancholic. The narrator frequently appears as a sort of seraphic messenger, send "back to the world" and none too happy about it: this is a place of hunger and desire, of the need to possess and the distress of never quite doing so. Many of the poems have the feel of fairy tales or fables (one is even called "Fable"); poems about the poet's childhood, frequently featuring her sister, are more earthbound and prosaic. As always, Glck demonstrates incredible craft; this is assured and quietly beautiful poetry. The incessant twilight can wear, however; when a poem complains "We read, we listened to the radio./ Obviously this wasn't life," one is tempted to mutter, "Well, what is?" For most contemporary collections. Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

The Seven Agesp. 3
Moonbeamp. 5
The Sensual Worldp. 6
Mother and Childp. 8
Fablep. 9
Solsticep. 10
Starsp. 11
Youthp. 13
Exalted Imagep. 15
Reunionp. 17
Radiump. 18
Birthdayp. 20
Ancient Textp. 22
From a Journalp. 24
Islandp. 27
The Destinationp. 28
The Balconyp. 29
Copper Beechp. 30
Study of My Sisterp. 31
Augustp. 32
Summer at the Beachp. 34
Rain in Summerp. 35
Civilizationp. 37
Decadep. 38
The Empty Glassp. 39
Quince Treep. 41
The Travelerp. 43
Arboretump. 44
Dream of Lustp. 46
Gracep. 48
Fablep. 49
The Muse of Happinessp. 50
Ripe Peachp. 52
Unpainted Doorp. 55
Mitosisp. 56
Erosp. 58
The Rusep. 59
Timep. 61
Memoirp. 62
Saint Joanp. 63
Aubadep. 65
Screened Porchp. 66
Summer Nightp. 67
Fablep. 68