Louise Glück was born April 22, 1943, in New York, New York. She was raised on Long Island and attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. She taught at various colleges beginning in 1971, and a few years prior, published her first collection of poetry, Firstborn, in 1968. Over the next few decades, she published several more collections, including The House on Marshland (1975), The Garden (1976), and Descending Figure (1980). In 1985, she published The Triumph of Achilles, receiving a National Book Critics Circle Award, followed by Ararat (1990), which won the Library of Congress’ Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry. In 1992, she published The Wild Iris, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award. She published Meadowlands in 1996, followed by Vita Nova in 1999, both inspired by Greek and Roman mythology, and the latter earning the Bollingen Prize from Yale University. Her next book, The Seven Ages (2001), did not receive as much attention as her prior collections. However, Averno, published in 2006, again received much critical acclaim and was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry. Her most recent collection is A Village Life: Poems (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), published in 2009.
Glück’s work is intensely personal, often dealing with pain, heartache, disappointment and loss, and is known for its directness, precision, and straightforward language. Not fitting any one genre, her poetry exhibits qualities at times confessional, but also intellectual.
In addition to her poetry, Glück has published a collection of essays entitled, Proof and Theories: Essays on Poetry (1994), winning the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction. She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, and from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additionally, she has won a Sara Teasdale Medal, the MIT Anniversary Medal, the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, and the Wallace Stevens Award. In 2003, she replaced Billy Collins as the U.S. Poet Laureate.