Poetry, Louise Gluck, Silence, Anticipatory Nostalgia, Restorative Nostalgia


Given the recent celebrity of 2020 Nobel Prize Laurette Louise Glück, the 2014 collection Faithful and Virtuous Night enjoys a relative bounty of reviews and criticism for such a recent collection. Most of these reviews make oblique reference to Glück’s use of silence in the collection, but none forward any serious argument regarding the function of silence in the argument of the collection. This essay argues that Glück relies on silence as a kind of revelation for her speakers, marking the end of a given system of being and the inauguration its supplanting ontology. Within the collection, Glück’s silence represents both the absence and abundance of speech and sound, enabling such ontological transitions for her speakers. Eventually, Glück’s speakers expect such silences and begin to behave according to what researchers name “anticipatory nostalgia,” the feeling of nostalgia for a time not yet passed. The essay concludes marking the version of silence in Faithful and Virtuous Night withing Glück’s longer history of deference to silence in her poetry.

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