Friday, July 5, 2013

Louise Gluck: Gratitude




I've been spending some time recently with the work of Louise Glück. I've always been a great admirer of her work, particularly the early poems, and this one speaks for itself distinct fully and, so, here you are.


Gratitude

Do not think I am not grateful for your small
kindness to me.
I like small kindnesses.
In fact I actually prefer them to the more
substantial kindness, that is always eying you
like a large animal on a rug,
until your whole life reduces
to nothing but waking up morning after morning
cramped, and the bright sun shining on its tusks.


                                               Louise Glück


Here is a little glimpse of process, and result ...  




------------------ 


Photo by ToniVC



brazenly squatting
on the tatami mat...
a frog
translated by David G. Lanoue




   

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6 comments:

Rehn said...

Thank you for the wonderful clip. Living with an unfinished poem makes me uneasy. I too take it with me. Reading the same lines in a different location seems to help.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Great point, Rehn. Sometimes there is that little something that is not quite there and it turns out that it somewhere else ...

Sometimes it's even a place in a totally different kind of space.

Dylan Tweney said...

Nice post. I studied poetry with Louise in college, many years ago. She is a terrific reader and editor of poetry, cutting directly to the heart of every piece and helping you find the pure, spare, minimally effective and maximally powerful lines. You can see the results in her poetry too. And, as she suggest in this short video, it might take some time before a poem is whittled into shape like this.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Dylan:

Thanks so much. Your point about Glück cutting directly to the heart of the matter may be exactly why she is a lyrical poet who appeals to someone who writes almost exclusively in the briefest of forms.

There are some haiku and tanka that take so incredibly long to sound like they are spontaneous (yet sometimes, at least in these forms, the spontaneous ones seem best).

I read a few of your own tanka on your site. Fine work.

Cheers,
Don

old pajamas said...

Gluck's "POEMS 1962-2012" - yes, electric more often the earlier or mid-life works - are writ not using a tool undistinguished as a pen, but with a switch-blade.

The end of "RETREATING LIGHT"...

Creation has brought you
great excitement, as I knew it would,
as it does in the beginning.
And I am free to do as I please now,
to attend to other things, in confidence
you have no need of me anymore.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Oh, my, op, certainly this is right to the point (!) of things. Here's the rest for the curious:

Retreating Light

You were always very young children,
always waiting for a story.
And I'd been through it all too many times;
I was tired of telling stories.
So I gave you the pencil and paper.
I gave you pens made of reeds
I had gathered myself, afternoons in the dense meadows.
I told you, write your own story.

After all those years of listening
I thought you'd know
what a story was.

All you could do was weep.
You wanted everything told to you
and nothing thought through yourselves.

Then I realized you couldn't think
with any real boldness or passion;
you hadn't had your own lives yet,
your own tragedies.
So I gave you lives, I gave you tragedies,
because apparently tools alone weren't enough.

You will never know how deeply
it pleases me to see you sitting there
like independent beings,
to see you dreaming by the open window,
holding the pencils I gave you
until the summer morning disappears into writing.

Creation has brought you
great excitement, as I knew it would,
as it does in the beginning.
And I am free to do as I please now,
to attend to other things, in confidence
you have no need of me anymore.

-Louise Gluck