April 4th, 2008


Louise Glück

Louise Elisabeth Glück was born April 22, 1943 in  New York City.  She attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University.

She has received numerous awards and accolades for her books of poetry (some of which I've listed below).  On Aug 28, 2003,
Glück was named the Poet Laureate for the Library of Congress.  She taught at Williams College for a two decades and is now the "writer in residence" and teaches at Yale.  In 2001 Yale also awarded her the Bollingen Prize in Poetry.

contemporary Jewish-American author, there is not much available on the web about Glück's personal life. There is though much that can be gleaned from her work, if one chooses to read it that way.  Much of Glück's work focuses on topics that could be considered autobiographical, but she resists that label.  To her, it is not imperative that the reader see every detail that inspired the poem, but the result.  For example, in "Siren", she talks about being the "other woman" and while the main theme may correlate with her life, the specific details and reading of it are not as important.

Her stanzas and line length are rarely consistent, and cover a whole range (some lines are a single word, other times they are the full page length) and stanza also are not normally consistent even within the same poem.

Glück's work is known for her mastery and control of language, as well as integration of meter and rhyme.  Her topics range from mythical to biblical to historical to fairy tales.  The tone of much of her work, especially in the beginning, is a bit angry.  Much of her language though is not flowery or overwrought.  Here's a link to an interesting text where Glück argues for the use of simple language in poetry.

Read more about her here
Louise Gluck

List of Glück's poetry books (with a description of some)

Firstborn (1968)
Published when she was 25, it focuses on the themes of child-bearing and language.
The House on Marshland (1975)
The Garden
Descending Figure
The Triumph of Achilles
Won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry
Ararat (1990)
Won the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry

The Wild Iris (1992)
Won the Pulitzer Prize and the William Carlos Williams Award
The First Four Books of Poems (1995)
Deals with the dissolution of marriage, and contains a lot of aspects of the Odyssey
Vita Nova (1999)
Won the Boston Book Review's Bingham Poetry Prize and The New Yorker's Book Award in poetry
The Seven Ages (2001)
A finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry in 2006

Selected poems

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Listen to Glück
read Marathon [I hope this works for you, I was having trouble with the link])

From the House on the Marshland

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From Descending Figure

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From The Wild Iris

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Listen to Glück read The Red Poppy

From Meadowlands

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From Averno
(The book has two versions of Persephone's tale, this is the first)

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Listen to Glück read Myth of Innocence

Links to recent Gluck poems published in Poetry Magazine in February 2008, entitled
Midsummer and

A link to a very recent poem published March 31, 2008 in the New Yorker, entitled