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October 21: Louise Glück

October 21, 2013
gluck1Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Glück became America’s Poet Laureate, succeeding Billy Collins, on this date in 2003. Former chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Glück was born in New York in 1943 (her father helped invent the X-Acto Knife). She is the author of fourteen books of poetry, most recently Faithful and Virtuous Night (2014), A Village Life (2009) and Averno (2006), which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and a collection of essays, Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry (1994), which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction. Her poetry, according to the website of the Poetry Foundation, “is noted for its technical precision, sensitivity and insight into loneliness, family relationships, divorce, and death. . . . Glück’s ability to create poetry that many people can understand, relate to, and experience intensely and completely stems from her deceptively straightforward language and poetic voice.” (“I have to remind myself,” she has said, “that not everyone in the world actually wants to be a poet.”) The book that won the Pulitzer, The Wild Iris (1998), is set in a garden and speaks in three voices: flowers speaking to the gardener, the gardener herself, and divine god-figure. A college drop-out herself (from Sarah Lawrence and Columbia), she has taught a many distinguished universities and writing workshops. To see her reading from A Village Life, look below. “We have come too far together toward the end now to fear the end. These nights, I am no longer even certain I know what the end means. And you, who’ve been with a man— “after the first cries, doesn’t joy, like fear, make no sound?” — “The Silver Lily,” from The Wild Iris, Louise Glück