Louise Gluck is the only poet I can confidently call my favourite. I’ve enjoyed collections by other poets, and individual works by a few, but with Gluck there is always consistency, even if the style is a bit different. “A Village Life” takes on a very prose-like form, with longer lines and stanzas that, at times, could even be called paragraph. There’s also much more repetition and restating of the obvious. And initially this was confusing.
Like always however, there is a meditative tone to each of the poems. I’ve grown to love how Gluck has several poems in a collection with the same name as they mimic the same repetitive routine that is diluted by events such as outings with friends. The same way I grew accustomed, and even ended up loving, the repetitive wording and long phrases. “Hunters” was particularly beautiful in its simplicity and that cyclical, closely-knitted narrative that leaves the reader with a startling and dark finish. However it was in “A Slip of paper”, the next poem after, that I found my favourite couple of lines in the entire collection, for they reminded me why I enjoy Gluck’s poems as much as I do:
To get born, your body makes a pact with death, / and from that moment, all it tries to do is cheat