Louise Glück: An Unmistakable Poetic Voice

Louise Gluck: Resident of Cambridge, MA and awarded Nobel Prize in Literature Photo by Courtesy of Abbot Public Library

On Thursday, Feb.16, 2-4 p.m., Abbot Public Library will be hosting a poetry salon to discuss the “bleak” poetry of one of America’s most celebrated poets, Louise Glück.

Born in New York City in 1943 and raised on Long Island, Glück was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2020 for “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal.”

Her father, Daniel Glück, an immigrant from Hungary, was a successful businessman who helped develop and market the familiar household X-Acto Knife. The members of the family pronounce their name as “Glick.”

A resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Glück’s willingness to confront the horrible, the difficult, and the painful resulted in a body of work characterized by insight and severe lyricism.

“Any poet who begins a poem with ‘You’re stepping on your father, my mother said,” is going to capture my attention,” said Claire Keyes, Professor Emerita at Salem State University.

“Louise Glück, Nobel Prize winner in 2020, is writing about a visit to the cemetery and she’s doing what Emily Dickinson advised: ‘Tell all the Truth/ but tell it Slant.’ What delights us in Glück’s poems is that she tricks us just a little to see the world slightly differently and perhaps learn a new truth,” added Keyes.

Glück has taught poetry at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard and Yale. Her personae included historic and mythic figures such as Gretel and Joan of Arc. Her adoption of different perspectives became increasingly imaginative. Her exquisitely controlled language and imaginative use of rhyme and meter delighted others.

Glück was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 1999. In the fall of 2003, she was appointed as the Library of Congress’s twelfth poet laureate. She served as judge of the Yale Series of Younger Poets from 2003 to 2010.

To learn more about Glück’s poetry, please join Claire Keyes for a stimulating session either in person at Abbot Public Library or via Zoom.

To attend via Zoom, please register in advance at abbotlibrary.org. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. All are welcome. Poetry packets are available near the library’s Main Desk or online at Gluck poems – 2-16-23 Salon.