To be killed and yet alive

Nearly 2,000 years ago, while banished to an unwanted perch in the city of Tomis in what is now Romania, the Roman poet Ovid wrote the founding texts of exile, Tristia and the Black Sea Letters. He feared that he would die “unmourned, unhonoured, in a barbarian land”, and compared his fate to that of … Read more

‘The fire is still alive’

On the back cover of Louise Gluck’s Poems 1962–2020 is a poem entitled “Nostos”, which ends with this couplet: “We look at the world once, in childhood. / The rest is memory.” Taken from Meadowlands (1996), it exemplifies a quality found throughout Glück’s fifty-eight-year oeuvre: hard-won wisdom in spare, penetrating language. This heavy book, published … Read more