Sudden Spoon

Collaborative Close Readings

Vespers: Blight of the Muse


On the one hand: there are eleven lines of business-speak in dry, accusatory accounting. A deal has gone awry. The narrator points a finger to “you.”

On the other hand: the next eleven lines are soppy garden melodrama. “I” declarations and angst point to the narrator-gardener and the “you” again while doubting “you.”

The 23rd and final line of the poem is: “for these vines.” Vines of lines where the poet claims responsibility for the garden and the poem.

This poem is an admonishment of “you” the long absent Muse and the narrator herself. Glück resorts to gardening metaphors and retorts her Muse who may be gone with…

Scarlett O’Hara clinches a fistful of dirt and declares “…when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again.”

Louise Glück clinches a fistful of garden dirt and declares “I am responsible for the vines.” The vines are the lines and creeper of her work.

The garden drama reminds me of Frank O’Hara’s “Why I Am Not a Painter”: “There should be / so much more, not of orange, of / words, of how terrible orange is / and life” that mocks  poetic hyperbole inclinations.

The garden is her poetry. She is the gardener. She is the poet. She is her Muse. She agonizes. She accuses herself, retorts herself and mocks herself. Her self prevails.

— Treva Stose


About trjst

5 comments on “Vespers: Blight of the Muse

  1. Elizabeth Evans
    December 4, 2012

    Ah, an unabashedly metapoetic reading! Thank you, Treva.

  2. Paige
    December 4, 2012

    I love this, Treva!
    She is god and muse and gardener.
    Her self prevails!

  3. dennisaguinaldo
    December 4, 2012

    Haha, Treva! Hard to re-read now without thinking of “garden melodrama,” but yes, it’s there. Will have to take all the lines together, can’t weed ’em out.

    • trjst
      December 10, 2012

      Dry business speak and garden melodrama. Opposites?

  4. trjst
    December 4, 2012

    The poem is funny. There’s dry denial and soppy wallowing. Glück needs vespers to reflect and get through it.

    My father frequented the Clay Street Tavern in Baltimore for many years. He called it the Tabernacle and said he was attending vespers after work. It seemed to be important.

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This entry was posted on December 4, 2012 by in Week 1 and tagged , .
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