Saturday, February 27, 2010
What struck me the most from Gluck’s poetry was the manner in which she is able to progress from a modern revisitation of Homer to a reinvention of Homer. In the first poems we read, the speaker is presenting the poem from an individual modern perspective, through a reference to Maria Callas in “Penelope’s Song” and a walk in the woods in “Quiet Evening.” These bring the reader’s modern experiences into the context of the love between Odysseus and Penelope. As the poetry progresses, however, it seems less and less attached to that individual and becomes more generalized to shared experiences. In “Parable of the Hostages,” the idea of war and battle are addressed in contrasting forms between our modern idea of war and the archaic form experienced in the Odyssey. There is no individuality in that war experience, however, only the notion of the shared war experience. This progression is completed in the final poems of the series, in which the poet returns to the individual experiences not of modern readers, but of Penelope, Circe, and Odysseus.