A Woman Defined

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The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck

Book Review: “The Wild Iris” by Louise Gluck

May 23, 2024
The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck
The Wild Iris by Louise Gluck

In these modern times, poetry often seems like the decorative parsley garnish used to embellish our prepared dishes at restaurants, beautifully arranged on our plates but frequently left untouched when the server takes the empty plate back to the kitchen.

In our noisy world, poetry is like a soft whisper in our ears. To hear it, we must quiet our minds, but alas, our minds are often too cluttered to accommodate and hear this delicate whisper. Reading poetry in this fast-paced era of AI and advanced technology is like handling a refined and precious piece of needlework embroidery. We think it best to put it away, safely stored with other delicate items, rather than leaving it out.

The Wild Iris, a collection of poems by Louise Glück, is the first book I have read by this author. Glück, a central figure in American poetry, has received the Pulitzer Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award.

In this book, she speaks the delicate language of poetry, using elements of nature, like plants and flowers, to express love, pain, suffering, joy, and, most of all, faith in God. These elements bond together like a poetic glue, creating the structure of her writings.

Her poems are personal, autobiographical, and intense, expertly crafted to examine life, love, and death in connection with nature and humanity. They serve as a soothing meditation, taking us on a journey through her life, allowing us to witness the imagery she creates, which is filled with trauma, personal experiences, and human desires.

After finishing The Wild Iris by Louise Glück, I realized that this book falls into the category of intellectual, academic, well-versed, and well-polished literature. I admire and appreciate it very much, but I still yearn for poetry that deeply and directly connects with my soul and affects my innermost heart before reaching my mind, like the works of my favorite poets: Bukowski, Neruda, and Lorca.

When I first get acquainted with a poet and their book of poetry, it’s like meeting someone new, someone personable, sincere, and exciting, and forming a deep and complete connection with them. This connection results in fast friendship, with their book of poems nearby, ready to be picked up and reread time and again. I memorize my favorite lines, and as I go about my chores or get lost in my thoughts, those lines appear and disappear like familiar faces of my loved ones.

Now, you may ask, “Would I do this with The Wild Iris by Louise Glück?” My answer would be, “I don’t think so.” However, I would certainly find a special place on my library shelves for this book.

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