I have argued, in these pages, that her 1990 book, “Ararat,” is the most brutal and sorrow-filled book of poetry published in the last 30 years. (It’s contained in her collection “Poems: 1962-2012.”) It’s confessional and a bit wild, I wrote, comparing it to Bob Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks.”
One of the things to love about Glück’s poetry is that, while her work contains many emotional registers, she is not afraid to be cruel — she confronts the monsters in herself, and in others, not with resignation and therapeutic digression but with artery-nicking knives
The poet Kay Ryan, in her terrific new book of essays, “Synthesizing Gravity,” writes: “I think it’s good to admit what a wolfish thing art is; I trust writers who know they aren’t nice.” Glück’s work is replete with not-niceness. You would not, you sense, want her as an enemy.
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.