Louise Glück’s compelling, slightly creepy new book, Faithful and Virtuous Night, is stuffed with morbid fantasies, cracked allegories, offbeat fairy tales, and parables with no name.1 The speaker, who might be called Glück/not-Glück (if the world of these tales is unstable, so is character), reveals everything while revealing nothing—the poems are a raw look at identity constructed on the fly, which is, after all, not very distant from the way ordinary criminals live. If we trust Freud, we’re all ordinary criminals.

Glück’s poems display, more than any poet since Plath and Lowell, the mental pressure of invention—they’re landmines waiting to be stepped on. The breathless concision...

 
Faithful and Virtuous Night: Poems
Louise Glück
Faithful and Virtuous Night: Poems
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 80 pages, $23.00
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