Louise Glück è nata a New York il 22 aprile 1943 da una famiglia di origini ebraiche. Suo padre, immigrato dall’Ungheria, collaborò alla produzione di un trincetto inventato da suo cognato, “X-Acto”. Louise crebbe a Long Island; abbandonò gli studi superiori perché affetta da anoressia, che curò con l’analisi (“volevo essere solo anima, punendo il corpo”). Frequentò alla Columbia i corsi di scrittura poetica di Stanley Kunitz e Léonie Adams; in seguito l’insegnamento e i rapporti con poeti giovani di talento le hanno dato molte soddisfazioni. Il suo primo incarico, all’alternativo Goddard College nel Vermont, l’aiutò a superare l’impasse dopo la pubblicazione della prima raccolta, Firstborn (1968). Seguirono in rapida successione The House on Marshland (1975), The Garden (1976), Descending Figure (1980), The Triumph of Achilles (1985), Ararat (1990). Distanza, intimità e un recupero del classico caratterizzano queste opere, che trattano di relazioni, famiglia, solitudine, separazione, natura, morte. The Wild Iris (Premio Pulitzer 1992) consta di monologhi e dialoghi fra tre voci: i fiori di un giardino, colei che li accudisce, un dio che a sua volta accudisce i suoi fiori umani. Meadowlands (1996), raccolta intitolata a uno stadio del New Jersey e ispirata all’Odissea, accenna un divorzio. Seguirono Vita Nova (1999), che ottenne il prestigioso Bollingen Prize (e rimanda all’Eneide più che a Dante), The Seven Ages (2001) e Averno (2006), riflessione sul mito di Persefone e il nuovo millennio. Nel 1994 apparve un volume di saggi sulla poesia, Proofs and Theories; un secondo libro, American Originality (2017), raccoglie dieci introduzioni scritte da Glück per i vincitori da lei scelti nella storica Yale Series of Younger Poets (2003-2010). Nel 2003-2004 Glück ricoprì il ruolo di Poet Laureate degli Usa. Le raccolte successive, A Village Life (2009), Faithful and Virtuous Night (National Book Award, 2014) e Winter Recipes for the Collective (2021) hanno un andamento narrativo. Nel 2012 è uscita la raccolta complessiva Poems 1962-2012. Nel 2020 le è stato assegnato il Premio Nobel per la Letteratura. In Italia sono edite le raccolte L’iris selvatico (2002), Averno (2019), Ararat (2021), Notte fedele e virtuosa (2021), Ricette per l’inverno dal collettivo (2022). Louise Glück vive a Cambridge (Massachusetts) e insegna scrittura poetica alla Yale University.
Louise Elisabeth Glück is an American poet and essayist. She won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, whose judges praised “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”. Her other awards include the Pulitzer Prize, National Humanities Medal, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Bollingen Prize. From 2003 to 2004, she was Poet Laureate of the United States.
Glück is often described as an autobiographical poet; her work is known for its emotional intensity and for frequently drawing on mythology or nature imagery to meditate on personal experiences and modern life. Thematically, her poems have illuminated aspects of trauma, desire, and nature. In doing so, they have become known for frank expressions of sadness and isolation. Scholars have also focused on her construction of poetic personas and the relationship, in her poems, between autobiography and classical myth.
Glück serves as the Frederick Iseman Professor in the Practice of Poetry at Yale University and as a professor of English at Stanford University. She splits her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts, Montpelier, Vermont, and Berkeley, California.
While the 1990s brought Glück literary success, it was also a period of personal hardship. Her marriage to John Dranow ended in divorce in 1996, the difficult nature of which affected their business relationship, resulting in Dranow’s removal from his positions at the New England Culinary Institute.Glück channeled her experience into her writing, entering a prolific period of her career. In 1994, she published a collection of essays called Proofs & Theories: Essays on Poetry. She then produced Meadowlands (1996), a collection of poetry about the nature of love and the deterioration of a marriage. She followed it with two more collections: Vita Nova (1999) and The Seven Ages (2001).
In 2004, in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Glück published a chapbook entitled October. Consisting of one poem divided into six parts, it draws on ancient Greek myth to explore aspects of trauma and suffering. That same year, she was named the Rosenkranz Writer in Residence at Yale University.
Since joining the faculty of Yale, Glück has continued to publish poetry. Her books published during this period include Averno (2006), A Village Life (2009), and Faithful and Virtuous Night (2014). In 2012, the publication of a collection of a half-century’s worth of her poems, entitled Poems: 1962–2012, was called “a literary event”. Another collection of her essays, entitled American Originality, appeared in 2017.
In October 2020, Glück was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, becoming the sixteenth female literature laureate since the prize was founded in 1901. Due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, she received her prize at her home. In her Nobel lecture, which was delivered in writing, she highlighted her early engagement with poetry by William Blake and Emily Dickinson in discussing the relationship between poets, readers, and the wider public.
In 2021, Glück’s collection, Winter Recipes from the Collective, was published. In 2022, she was named the Frederick Iseman Professor in the Practice of Poetry at Yale. In 2023, she was appointed a professor of English at Stanford University, where she teaches in the Creative Writing Program.