When poets talk about "voice," they mean that inexplicable part of poetry that echoes as the poet's individual mark. A writer can learn technique but never voice.
Louise Gluck's poems succeed because she has an unmistakable voice that resonates and brings into our contemporary world the old notion that poetry and the visionary are intertwined. The tone of her work is eerie, philosophical, questioning. Her poems aren't simply mystical ramblings. Far from it. They're sternly well-crafted pieces. But they carry the voice of a poet who sees, within herself, beyond the ordinary and is able to offer powerful insights, insights not to be quickly interpreted.
Gluck is particularly drawn to an exploration of the masculine--men with women, men in their own myths. She writes of Christ, or Achilles ("he was a man already dead, a victim/ of the part that loved,/ the part that was mortal"), of David and of Moses. A series of love poems, "Marathon," is perhaps the most personal work in the book, but these poems, too, include the "other," the lover, in the sense of great drama that has been played over and over, forever. It's hard to say, of any of the poems, "This is about . . ." because nothing here is easily labeled. The writing presents, rather, an image and its variations, its rich possibilities. Gluck retells and re-sees what human beings have been saying and seeing for a long time. She refreshes the pat stories, the cliched views of myth--Greek and biblical, as well as our modern attitudes about family and relationships.