Winter Recipes from the Collective: Poems

by Louise Glück

Hardcover, 2021






Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2021), Edition: First Edition, 64 pages


A haunting new book by a poet whose voice speaks of all our lifetimes Louise Glück's thirteenth book of poems is among her most haunting. Here as in the Wild Iris there is a chorus, but the speakers are entirely human, simultaneously spectral and ancient. Winter Recipes from the Collective is chamber music, an invitation into that privileged realm small enough for the individual instrument to make itself heard, dolente, its line sustained, carried, and then taken up by the next instrument, spirited, animoso, while at the same time being large enough to contain a whole lifetime, the inconceivable gifts and losses of old age, the little princesses rattling in the back of a car, an abandoned passport, the ingredients of an invigorating winter sandwich, a sister's death, the joyful presence of the sun, its brightness measured by the darkness it casts. "Some of you will know what I mean," the poet says, by which she means, some of you will follow me. Hers is the sustaining presence, the voice containing all our lifetimes, "all the worlds, each more beautiful than the last." This magnificent book couldn't have been written by anyone else, nor could it have been written by the poet at any other time in her life.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member DonnaMarieMerritt
When I read this book aloud, it's beautiful. The sounds flow and I feel the melancholy and the joy and the hope and the despair of aging. I can't say that I understand all the poems, but the images will stay with me:

" merrily you stood on the balcony,
pelting me with foil-wrapped
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"I could hear the clock ticking,
presumably alluding to the passage of time
while in fact annulling it."

"...We were sitting on our favorite bench
outside the common room, having
a glass of gin without ice.
Looked a lot like water, so the nurses
smiled at you as they passed,
pleased with how hydrated you were becoming."

"There is no one alive anymore
who remembers me as a baby."

Perhaps the title poem sums up this collection best:

"...The book contains
only recipes for winter, when life is hard. In spring,
anyone can make a fine meal."
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