In her 1994 essay "Education of the Poet," Louise Glück wrote, "The poet is supposed to be the person who can't get enough of words like 'incarnadine' (a shade of crimson). This was not my experience. From the beginning I preferred the simplest vocabulary. What fascinated me were the possibilities of context."
An excerpt from "Vespers," a poem from Glück's Pulitzer Prize-winning volume "The Wild Iris," is an example of the poet's shorn vocabulary:
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows
The daughter of the man who helped to invent the X-Acto Knife, the 70-year-old Glück has used her words to carve out a distinguished life. She has won practically every major literary award for poetry, and she has served as the nation's Poet Laureate.
On March 5 at 8 p.m., Glück, this year's Hausman Lecturer, will take the stage at the Ann & Richard Barshinger Center for Musical Arts to read from her poetry and take questions. Afterward, she will sign copies of her books including the latest, "Poems 1962-2012," which in 2013 won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
"Her poems, more than those of any living American poet I know of, consistently, hauntingly, often chillingly, arrive at wisdom," said F&M Associate Professor of English Katie Ford, whose own poems have been published in two books and appeared in many journals and magazines. "Her work is such a pleasure to teach. Students discover a mastery of music and insight that does not alienate but makes the craft of poetry seem possible, and, perhaps more importantly, crucial to the depth with which we can choose to live our lives."
Glück is recipient of numerous poetry awards, including the Bollingen Prize for lifetime achievement, bestowed in 2001, and the Wallace Stevens Award for mastery in the art of poetry, earned in 2008.
Harvard professor and renowned poetry critic Helen Vendler has called Glück "a poet of strong and haunting presence. Her poems have achieved the unusual distinction of being neither 'confessional' nor 'intellectual' in the usual senses of those words."
In 2003 and 2004, Glück served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. As the nation's official poet, Glück sought to raise awareness of and increase appreciation for the reading and writing of poetry.
Glück taught at Williams College for two decades and is now writer-in-residence at Yale University. 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.
The Hausman Lecture Series was established to bring award-winning authors to the F&M campus and is sponsored by Richard and Edna Hausman and the Department of English.