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
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.