Gala Reading by U.S. Poet Laureate Louise
Glück to Celebrate Smith Poetry Center's New Home
Editor's note: Poetry Center
founder Ann Boutelle and director Ellen Doré Watson are available for interviews.
A photo of Louise Glück is available by e-mailing
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. -- U.S. Poet Laureate Louise Glück,
whose remarkable body of work has won her wide and resounding
praise, will present a gala reading at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday,
April 27, in Leo Weinstein Auditorium (formerly Wright Hall
The reading, which is free and open to the public, is the
highlight of a series of activities celebrating the Smith
College Poetry Center's new home in Wright Hall. The reading
will be preceded by a dedication ceremony at 4:30 p.m. featuring
remarks and poems read by Smith College President Carol T.
Christ and invited guests. At 9 p.m., following Glück's
reading, audience members will be invited to a reception
in the new center.
Glück's exquisitely controlled book-length lyric sequences
dazzle and disturb. Each of her nine collections marks a
striking departure from its predecessor. Poet Robert Hass
calls her "one of the purest and most accomplished lyric
poets now writing."
A chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Glück
has received countless distinguished honors, including the
Bollingen Poetry Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National
Book Critics Circle Award, the William Carlos Williams Award
and a Lannan Literary Award for Poetry.
In praising Glück's intellectual and passionate intensity,
poet Tony Hoadland wrote, "No one sings the song of
intoxicated singularity of consciousness like her, or better,
gives voice to the most fundamental fractures of human nature." In
language that is as deceptively simple as it is technically
precise, Glück's work describes the ironies of the human
condition through the humble, jarringly austere voices of
myth, wind and witchgrass. Despite the simplicity of her
syntax, her poems are renowned for their elegance and analytic
depth, their hard questions and their harrowing examination
of human life and growth.
Glück challenges her readers and herself at every turn
with spare, darkly poignant lines, and as critic Helen Vendler
writes, her daring yet humble assertions reach the level
of "spiritual prophecy -- a tone that not many women
have the courage to claim."
Glück's triumph amidst the ironic and bleak world
she describes is the creative act; out of the depths comes
a poem that illuminates the darkness it describes. Poetry
for her is an insistent bloom against the black. As she writes
in "The Wild Iris," "... from the center of
my life came / a great fountain, deep blue / shadows on azure
Glück has taught at Brandeis and Harvard Universities
and the University of California. Currently the series judge
for the Yale Series of Younger Poets and Poet Laureate of
the U.S. (2003-2005), she lives in Cambridge, Mass., and
teaches at Williams College and Yale University.
Since its establishment in 1997, Smith's Poetry Center has
hosted readings by an impressive and diverse range of poets
including Gwendolyn Brooks, Billy Collins, Lucille Clifton
and Derek Walcott. The center's newly renovated space, formerly
the Wright Hall Common Room, will serve as a gathering space
for campus writers and visiting poets. It is furnished with
writing tables, comfortable chairs, a library of poetry books
and facilities for small readings. The center was made possible
by gifts to the college.
For more information, call Cindy Furtek in the Poetry Center
office at (413) 585-4891 or Ellen Doré Watson, director,
at (413) 585-3368.
Office of College
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174