Louise Glück, an award-winning author of nine books of poetry, is the 12th poet to be named to the Library's office of Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. She will open the Library's annual literary series on Tuesday, Oct. 21, with a reading of her work. The following day, she will host a Favorite Poem reading with Frank Bidart and former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky.
In addition to programming a new reading series for younger poets, Glück will participate in Library events in February and again in May.
In announcing the appointment, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said, "Louise Glück will bring to the Library of Congress a strong, vivid, deep poetic voice, accomplished in a series of book-length poetic cycles. Her prize-winning poetry and her great interest in young poets will enliven the poet laureate's office during the next year."
Glück succeeds Poets Laureate Billy Collins, Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass, Stanley Kunitz, Rita Dove, Mona Van Duyn, Joseph Brodsky, Mark Strand, Howard Nemerov, Richard Wilbur and Robert Penn Warren.
Her nine books of poetry include "The Seven Ages" (Ecco Press, 2001);
"Vita Nova" (1999), which was awarded The New Yorker magazine'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'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.
Glück has also published a collection of essays, "Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry" (1994), which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction. This fall, Sarabande Books will publish in chapbook form a new six-part poem, "October."
In 2001 Yale University awarded 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 M.I.T. Anniversary Medal (2000), and fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations and from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Glück is a member of the American Academy & Institute of Arts & Letters, and in 1999 she 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 will serve in that position through 2007.
A resident of Cambridge, Mass., Glück has taught at Williams College since 1983. As the Margaret Bundy Scott Senior Lecturer in English, she teaches courses in contemporary poetry and poetry writing.
The Library keeps to a minimum the specific duties required of the poet laureate in order to permit incumbents to continue to work on their own projects while at the Library, but each laureate is encouraged to bring new emphasis to the position.
Increasingly in recent years, the incumbents have sought to find new ways to broaden the role of poetry in the cultural life of the nation. Maxine Kumin initiated a popular women's series of poetry workshops at the Library's Poetry and Literature Center. Gwendolyn Brooks met with groups of elementary school children to encourage them to write poetry. Howard Nemerov conducted seminars at the Library for high school English classes. Most incumbents have furthered the development of the Library's Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature.
Joseph Brodsky initiated the idea of providing poetry in public places—supermarkets, hotels, airports, and hospitals. Rita Dove brought a program of poetry and jazz to the Library's literary series, along with a reading by young Crow Indian poets, and a two-day conference "Oil on the Waters: The Black Diaspora," featuring panel discussions, readings and music. Robert Hass sponsored "Watershed," a major conference on nature writing, which continues today as "River of Words," a national poetry competition for elementary and high school students.
Robert Pinsky initiated the Favorite Poem Project, which energized a nation of poetry readers to share their favorite poems in readings across the country and in audio and video recordings. And most recently, Billy Collins (2001-2003) instituted the Web site Poetry 180 (www.loc.gov/poetry/180), designed to bring a poem a day into high school classrooms.