Smith College Admission Academics Student Life About Smith news Offices
News Release

April 7, 2004

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 Marti Hobbes.

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 Auditorium).

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 seawater."

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 Relations
Smith College
Garrison Hall
Northampton, Massachusetts 01063

Marti Hobbes
News Assistant
T (413) 585-2190
F (413) 585-2174

Smith in the News

News Releases

Contact Us

DirectoryCalendarCampus MapVirtual TourContact UsSite A-Z