Proofs and Theories
Louise Gluck's award-winning collection of essays is the work of a major poet and a distinguished teacher. She writes of her upbringing, her human and literary antecedents, and she dwells with a scrupulous eye on details of lives and poems, until she comes to understand them.
The act of integrity involved in the essays is part and parcel of this poet's unsparing candour. Her criticism takes risks and can be fierce passionate, merciless to its subjects, even (or especially) when the subject is herself. The consolations that such essays offer are those of clarity. She attends to T.S. Eliot, George 0ppen, Sylvia Plath, Robinson Jeffers, Wallace Stevens, John Berryman and others, appraising what is risked in the work of each writer, and what we risk and gain in reading them.