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Averno: Poems af Louise Glück
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Averno: Poems (original 2006; udgave 2007)

af Louise Glück (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
3561056,040 (4.1)24
Averno is a small crater lake in southern , regarded by the ancient Romans as the entrance to the underworld. That place gives its name to Louise Glück’s eleventh collection: in a landscape turned irretrievably to winter, it is the only source of heat and light, a gate or passageway that invites traffic between worlds while at the same time opposing their reconciliation. Averno is an extended lamentation, its long, restless poems no less spellbinding for being without plot or hope, no less ravishing for being savage, grief-stricken. What Averno provides is not a map to a point of arrival or departure, but a diagram of where we are, the harrowing, enduring presence. Averno is a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Poetry.… (mere)
Medlem:Gunnarf
Titel:Averno: Poems
Forfattere:Louise Glück (Forfatter)
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2007), Edition: First, 96 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Nobel Prize, First Paperback Edition

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Averno: Poems af Louise Glück (2006)

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“The Wild Iris” was the first Glück collection I read. She is also an essential poet for me, in that her poems of psychological extremity tend to be perfectly pitched--aurally, rhythmically, sonically (I see this is the same characterisation as Stephanie Burt's). Lots of lyric poets want to do what she does, but none to me do it as well. Pretty much all her poems, to me, are about the unfairness of transience, the agony of knowing we aren't immortal and cannot stay in the most beautiful of all possible worlds for ever. The thing about “The Wild Iris”, it centred on the voices of plants which are, in a sense resurrected, individual flowers die but the plant flowers again next year, unlike humans - "that which you call death/I remember". When I first read that collection in 1992 I found it shattering and have read all her others since. For a long time “The Wild Iris” was my favourite, but now I would say “Averno” (I’m reading it in a bilingual translation by Inês Dias). My favourite individual poem of hers, though, would be "Arboretum" from “The Seven Ages” ("we had the problem of age, the problem of wishing to linger"). She is one of the two living poets I could least do without (the other is Paul Henry).

(stanza 4 of the poem "October")

To me she has an unusual capacity to reinvent herself for a poet of such an achieved manner. On at least two occasions she has put out a more tentative, or modest, volume after one brought to an impressively emphatic point--in “Meadowlands” after “The Wild Iris”, and A Village Life after Averno”. Both times I was initially baffled, and thought the following collection just a falling-off--that there was only that long, after all, a writer could sustain such intensity. But “Meadowlands”, in particular, in its scrappiness of form and thought, was more challenging than that. Glück shows us that her poetry is dominated by spoken-word-prose-poems. Reliant for success not because of any sustained original strings of linguistic invention, but on how the audience hears it spoken with emphasis and in a specific tone of voice that evokes in the reader a profoundly vague and slippery but fashionable emotional response tending to what's innately inarticulate and challenging to communicate critically with any meaning beyond a personal 'like' of it for presentational reasons. Whatever that means. That’s why it's mandatory that Glück’s poetry/prose must be enjoyed out loud.

Somebody once asked me to clarify what a qualified translator was and whether it was a person with a university degree in translation. Although it is not necessary to have a degree in translation to translate, there is an assumption that just knowing a language well is enough to translate. It is not that simple. You need to go a little deeper and be a wordsmith, a willing linguistic as well. Translating is not easy. In terms of fiction, is like rewriting the story in a different language and trying to be true to the author's style. I find translating poetry incredibly difficult and I much prefer to translate technical or general fiction stuff. But one thing is absolutely true about translation: you need to understand what you are going to translate. If not, you will do a terrible job. When I'm translating I often consider the purpose of the translation, but I don't agonize over "Skopos theory". Knowledge of two languages is indeed not a qualification for translation, but most translation courses aren't worth the paper they're printed on and won't turn a bad translator into a good one. It surely is a hard gig to get right. I remember watching an American film subtitled in Japanese with a Japanese friend at the Portuguese Cinemateca many eons ago. One of the characters said, "Come here you sexy bitch!" My friend started laughing. Turns out that was translated into something more like, "Come here you good women!" Not quite the same thing. Of course, every good woman is sexy, but not every sexy woman is good. I think. Maybe. Quite possibly, I may be corrected on this point…This to say that Inês Dias’s rendering into Portuguese is top-notch and does Glück’s work justice (vide October's stanza 4 in the picture above if you want to understand what I'm talking about).

What an experience it was to have read Glück’s work in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. ( )
  antao | Sep 11, 2021 |
To be honest: I am not a real poetry lover; I prefer the broad, layered narratives of prose. The Nobel Prize 2020 made me take on this small volume (barely 70 pages). And immediately you can notice: Glück writes from her own universe, she does not have a formal focus, but a substantive one, and it is supported by a broad range of personal experience.
The Greek Persophone myth is central to this collection, or at least the myth is the narrative that is used as the central guideline. With Persophone you immediately think of seasonal changes, but also of death and damnation, seclusion and varying happiness. Glück connects this in a lived-through way with physicality, and thus transience, despair and hope, appearance and reality. Barely 70 pages, I already wrote. But enough pages to enjoy for a long while. ( )
  bookomaniac | Dec 18, 2020 |
To such endless impressions
we poets give ourselves absolutely,
making, in silence, omen of mere event,
until the world reflects the deepest needs of the soul.


Averno is poetic eschatology—a rumination on the end, meaning, believing, understanding. Reflections on Persephone, dead or kidnapped, making sense of things chthonic, paired with a young girl's loss of innocence after burning a wheat field to ash. Glück peers into the "pit of disappearance," takes heed of what she sees there, and renders tentative revelations:

All your life, you wait for the propitious time.
Then the propitious time
reveals itself as action taken.


&

You die when your spirit dies.
Otherwise, you live.
You may not do a good job of it, but you go on—
something you have no choice about.


&

But ignorance
cannot will knowledge. Ignorance
wills something imagined, which it believes exists.
( )
  drbrand | Jun 8, 2020 |
I wasn't as fond of this as her other collections, though I loved the Persephone poems. They spoke to me the most and were the strongest. In my eyes, at least. Those I'll definitely revisit. ( )
  Kristin_Curdie_Cook | Apr 29, 2016 |
Aching emotions and nature. Simple language, myth, and history. Will need to find more Gluck. Going for Meadowlands next. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
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Averno is a small crater lake in southern , regarded by the ancient Romans as the entrance to the underworld. That place gives its name to Louise Glück’s eleventh collection: in a landscape turned irretrievably to winter, it is the only source of heat and light, a gate or passageway that invites traffic between worlds while at the same time opposing their reconciliation. Averno is an extended lamentation, its long, restless poems no less spellbinding for being without plot or hope, no less ravishing for being savage, grief-stricken. What Averno provides is not a map to a point of arrival or departure, but a diagram of where we are, the harrowing, enduring presence. Averno is a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Poetry.

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