By Louise Gluck
Farrar Straus Giroux, Paperback, 9780374530747, 79pp.
Publication Date: February 6, 2007
Averno is a small crater lake in southern Italy, regarded by the ancient Romans as the entrance to the underworld. That place gives its name to Louise Gluck's tenth collection: in a landscape turned irretrievably to winter, it is a gate or passageway that invites traffic between worlds while at the same time resisting their reconciliation. "Averno" is an extended lamentation, its long, restless poems no less spellbinding for being without conventional resoltution or consolation, 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 present.
"Averno" is a 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Poetry.
“Brilliant [poems of] complex, haunting power . . . Averno may be Glück’s masterpiece. Certainly it demonstrates that she is writing at the peak of her powers.” –Nicholas Christopher, The New York Times Book Review “Few poets can shoulder the weight of myth the way Glück does . . . The poems brilliantly display a poet’s insight, a mother’s warmth, and a mortal’s empathy. There is wry humor, too, and, amid much that is dark, there are fragments of hope.” –The New Yorker