Louise Glück

Louise Glück (b. 1943 New York City), has written poetry for as long as she can remember. She was US Poet Laureate from 2003-4 and has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the William Carlos Williams Award. As a child with ‘a premature sense of vocation’, she was inspired by Blake’s Songs of Innocence and songs from Shakespeare’s plays. As a teenager, she sent off manuscripts to publishers. ‘It was good practice,’ she says, ‘that decade of rejection.’

Faithful and Virtuous Night took five years to write: when stuck, she would turn to the very short stories of Kafka for inspiration. She finds DH Lawrence’s ‘great, imperfect poems’ encouraging and draws from the work of younger poets and her own students.

Her advice to would-be poets: ‘Persist. Stay, or become, capable of change. Trust what seems an adventure however confusing.’

Forward Prizes History:

  • 2014 Forward Prizes for Best Collection, shortlisted for Faithful and Virtuous Night (Carcanet)