Biography of Louise Gluck
Born in 1943, Louise Glück is an American poet. She was born in New York City and grew up in Long Island. Her father helped invent the X-Acto Knife. Glück graduated in 1961 from George W. Hewlett High School, in Hewlett, New York. She went on to attend Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University.
Glück won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1993 for her collection The Wild Iris. Glück is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award (Triumph of Achilles), the Academy of American Poet's Prize (Firstborn), as well as numerous Guggenheim fellowships. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was previously a Senior Lecturer in English at Williams College in Williamstown, MA. Glück currently teaches at Yale University, where she is the Rosencranz Writer in Residence, and in the Creative Writing Program of Boston University. She has also been a member of the faculty of the University of Iowa.
Glück is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Averno (2006); The Seven Ages (2001); Vita Nova (1999), which was awarded The New Yorker's Book Award in Poetry; Meadowlands (1996); The Wild Iris (1992), which received the Pulitzer Prize and the Poetry Society of America's William Carlos Williams Award; Ararat (1990), which received the Library of Congress's Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry; and The Triumph of Achilles (1985), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Boston Globe Literary Press Award, and the Poetry Society of America's Melville Kane Award. The First Four Books collects her early poetry.
Louise Glück has also published a collection of essays, Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry (1994), which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction. Sarabande Books published in chapbook form a new, six-part poem, October, in 2004. In 2001 Yale University awarded Louise Glück its Bollingen Prize in Poetry, given biennially for a poet's lifetime achievement in his or her art. Her other honors include the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, the Sara Teasdale Memorial Prize (Wellesley, 1986), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Anniversary Medal (2000), and fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations and from the National Endowment for the Arts.
She is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and in 1999 was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2003 she was named as the new judge for the Yale Series of Younger Poets and continues to serve in that position. Glück was appointed the US Poet Laureate from 2003-2004, succeeding Billy Collins.
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Louise Gluck Poems
I have a friend who still believes in heaven. Not a stupid person, yet with all she knows, she literally talks to God. She thinks someone listens in heaven. On earth she's unusually competent.
I'll tell you something: every day people are dying. And that's just the beginning. Every day, in funeral homes, new widows are born, new orphans. They sit with their hands folded,
What does the horse give you That I cannot give you? I watch you when you are alone,
A man and a woman lie on a white bed. It is morning. I think Soon they will waken. On the bedside table is a vase
How can you say earth should give me joy? Each thing born is my burden; I cannot succeed with all of you.
No one's despair is like my despair-- You have no place in this garden thinking such things, producing
Long ago, I was wounded. I lived to revenge myself against my father, not for what he was--
There is always something to be made of pain. Your mother knits. She turns out scarves in every shade of red. They were for Christmas, and they kept you warm
I never turned anyone into a pig. Some people are pigs; I make them Look like pigs.
To say I'm without fear-- It wouldn't be true. I'm afraid of sickness, humiliation. Like anyone, I have my dreams.
Speak to me, aching heart: what Ridiculous errand are you inventing for yourself Weeping in the dark garage With your sack of garbage: it is not your job
The Wild Iris
At the end of my suffering there was a door. Hear me out: that which you call death
My mother's an expert in one thing: sending people she loves into the other world. The little ones, the babies--these she rocks, whispering or singing quietly. I can't say
In the end, I made myself Known to your wife as A god would, in her own house, in Ithaca, a voice
The Myth of Innocence
One summer she goes into the field as usual
stopping for a bit at the pool where she often
looks at herself, to see
if she detects any changes. She sees
the same person, the horrible mantle
of daughterliness still clinging to her.
The sun seems, in the water, very close.
That's my uncle spying again, she thinks—