Averno – Louise Gluck
‘Brilliant poems of complex, haunting power… Averno may be Gluck’s masterpiece’ The New York Times Book Review
An acclaimed collection from the Nobel prize-winning poet
This startlingly original reworking of the Persephone myth takes us to the icy shores of Averno, the crater lake regarded by the ancient Romans as the entrance to the underworld. Here, the consolations of rebirth and renewal are eclipsed by the immediacy of loss – by a mother’s possessive grief, an abducted girl’s equivocal memories, a farmer’s lament for a lost harvest.
This chorus offers neither comfort nor solace but deepened understanding, its sorrow textured by the poet’s luminous wit. Together, the poems of Averno swell to a staggeringly powerful lamentation, through which the reader glimpses the ecstasy of the inevitable, only to find it resisted by the insistent, impersonal presence of the Earth.