American Originality: Essays on Poetry – Louise Glück
The probing essays collected in American Originality scrutinise the terms we use to think about recent American poetry, its antecedents (not just Whitman and Dickinson but Ovid, Rilke, Thomas Mann, Keats) and its future, questioning how we distinguish between work that is unique and work that is original, carefully delineating the allure of both ‘shared traditions’ and ‘the cult of illogic’. Attentive always to risk and danger, Louise Gluck illuminates how the poet at work moves between panic and gratitude, agony and resolution. Essays on specific writers and on the larger themes of American literature introduce the terms by which she reads and celebrates ten younger poets whose work she has advocated.
Studded with brilliant insights into her own practice and the work of her contemporaries, this is an essential book for any interested reader of new poetry.