Louise Gluck

Louise Gluck

Louise Glück’s exquisitely controlled book-length lyric sequences dazzle and disturb. Each of her nine collections marks a striking departure from its predecessor, and this remarkable body of work has won her wide and resounding praise.

Robert Hass calls her “one of the purest and most accomplished lyric poets now writing,” Edward Hirsch praises her “oracular voice, fierce imagination, and unsparing vision,” and Robert Pinsky notes her “ruthless breathtaking originality.”

A Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Glück has received countless distinguished honors, including the Bollingen Poetry Prize and the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and a Lannan Literary Award for Poetry.

As the poet Tony Hoagland writes, praising Glück’s intellectual and passionate intensity, “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 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, of wind and witchgrass. Despite the simplicity of her syntax, her poems are renowned for their elegance and analytic depth, their hard questions, 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 seawater.”

Louise Glück has taught at Brandeis, Harvard, 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, Massachusetts, and teaches at Williams College and Yale University.


Poems by Louise Glück

Penelope's Song

Brown Circle



First Memory
(Available as a broadside.)














Poetry Center Reading:

Spring 2004