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American Originality

American Originality

Essays on Poetry

Louise Glück

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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A luminous collection of essays from one of our most original and influential poets

Five decades after her debut poetry collection, Firstborn, Louise Glück is a towering figure in American letters. Written with the same probing, analytic control that has long distinguished her poetry, American Originality is Glück’s second book of essays—her first, Proofs and Theories, won the 1993 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction. Glück’s moving and disabusing lyricism is on full display in this decisive new collection.

From its opening pages, American Originality forces readers to consider contemporary poetry and its demigods in radical, unconsoling, and ultimately very productive ways. Determined to wrest ample, often contradictory meaning from our current literary discourse, Glück comprehends and destabilizes notions of “narcissism” and “genius” that are unique to the American literary climate. This includes erudite analyses of the poets who have interested her throughout her own career, such as Rilke, Pinsky, Chiasson, and Dobyns, and introductions to the first books of poets like Dana Levin, Peter Streckfus, Spencer Reece, and Richard Siken. Forceful, revealing, challenging, and instructive, American Originality is a seminal critical achievement.

EXCERPT

AMERICAN ORIGINALITY


We are, famously, a nation of escaped convicts, younger sons, persecuted minorities, and opportunists. This fame is local and racial: white America’s myth of itself. It does not, obviously, describe Native Americans...

Reviews

Praise for American Originality

"When one of the nation’s great living poets sets her observational eye on the state of the American letters—poetry specifically—it is for all of us to pay attention . . . Glück is an essayist at once generous and sharp, and her insights into craft, classic American poetry, and the souls of the poets, are essential reading." —Jonny Diamond, LitHub

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About the author

Louise Glück

Louise Glück is the author of a dozen books of poems and American Originality: Essays on Poetry. Her many awards include the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Bollingen Prize for Poetry, and the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. She teaches at Yale University and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Louise Glück

(c) Katherine Wolkoff

Louise Glück

Visit the author's faculty page at Yale

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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