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Wild Iris
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The lyrical Gluck, who won a Pulitzer for The Wild Iris, uses the Odyssey to illuminate contemporary marriage in the "chastened, spiritual" poems of Meadowlands. (LJ 3/15/96)

The award-winning author of The Triumph of Achilles looks here at relations between heaven and earth. More than half of the poems address an ``unreachable father,'' or are spoken in a voice meant to be his: ``Your souls should have been immense by now, / not what they are, / small talking things . . . This ambitious and original work consists of a series of ``matins,'' ``vespers,'' poems about flowers, and others about the seasons or times of day, carrying forward a dialogue between the human and divine. This is poetry of great beauty, where lamentation, doubt and praise show us a god who can blast or console, but who too often leaves us alone; Gluck, then, wishes to understand a world where peace ``rushes through me, / . . . like bright light through the bare tree.'' Only rarely (in ``The Doorway,'' for example) does the writing fail. But when dialogue melds with lyricism, the result is splendid. In ``Violets'' the speaker tells her ``dear / suffering master'': ``you / are no more lost / than we are, under / the hawthorn tree, the hawthorn holding / balanced trays of pearls.'' This important book has a powerful, muted strangeness. (June)

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