Louise Glück

Louise Glück

Past Event: Thursday, March 15, 2012

At Benaroya Hall — Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall

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Glück’s poetry is sharp and lean, described in the New York Times by William Logan as “the logical outcome of a certain strain of confessional verse—starved of adjectives, thinned to a nervous set of verbs, intense almost past bearing, her poems have been dark, damaged and difficult to avert your gaze from.”

Louise Glück was born in New York City in 1943. Her works of poetry include A Village Life: Poems (2009), Averno (2006), Vita Nova (1999), The Wild Iris (1992), Ararat (1990), and The Triumph of Achilles (1985). She has also published a collection of essays, Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry (1994). Averno was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award in Poetry, and The Wild Iris was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. She was also a judge in the Yale Series of Younger Poets from 2003-2010.

Glück’s poetry originates from the speaker-as-center, utilizing the emotional singularity of the isolated self as a means through which to engage the fundamental webs and events surrounding the “I” of existence, while paradoxically never being governed by the urgent constraints of subjective emotion. Combined with the ability to gaze unflinchingly into the emotional disappointments and rejections of family, work, and love, Glück’s streamlined poems and incisive diction combine to create poems that are brutal in their unrelenting focus, and wholly arresting.

Glück grew up on Long Island where her father, Daniel Glück, helped invent and market the X-Acto Knife, which was originally intended as a surgical tool. While the knife itself proved unsuitable for hospital use, Glück’s own language reflects scalpel-like qualities in the precision and finely honed edges of her lines. When applied to the inner eye of an emotionally conscious self, the razor’s edge of her poetry’s gaze strips away sentimentality, rationalization, and distraction, revealing a poetics that is “bitter, stark, careful, guiltily inward. . .astonishing in its self-knowledge.” (Publisher’s Weekly)

Glück is also the recipient of The Boston Review‘s Bingham Poetry Prize and The New Yorker‘s Book Award in Poetry (for Vita Nova), The Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award (for The Wild Iris), the Library of Congress’s Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry (for Ararat), and the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Boston Globe Literary Press Award, and the Poetry Society of America’s Melville Kane Award (for The Triumph of Achilles). She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations and the National Endowment for the Arts. Proof and Theories: Essays on Poetrywas awarded the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction. In 2008 Glück received the Wallace Stevens Award for mastery in the art of poetry. She is currently the Rosencrantz Writer in Residence at Yale University.

Event Details

Benaroya Hall — Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall

200 University Street
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Transportation & Parking

This event will be held in the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall. The Recital Hall is located on the upper level of Benaroya Hall, up the stairs to the left side of the Box Office. Benaroya Hall is located at 200 University Street, directly across Second Avenue from the Seattle Art Museum. The public entrance to Benaroya Hall is along Third Avenue.

By Car

  • From Southbound I-5
    Take the Union Street exit (#165B). Continue onto Union Street and proceed approximately five blocks to Second Avenue. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound I-5
    Exit left onto Seneca Street (exit #165). Proceed two blocks and turn right onto Fourth Avenue. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Union Street. Continue two blocks. Turn left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Northbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Seneca Street exit and move into the left lane. Turn left onto First Avenue and proceed one block. Take the next right (at the Hammering Man sculpture) onto University Street. Continue up the hill two blocks to Third Avenue. Turn left onto Third Avenue. Continue to the next block and turn left onto Union Street. Make the next left onto Second Avenue. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your immediate left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.
  • From Southbound Highway 99 (Aurora Avenue)
    Take the Denny Way/Downtown exit. Keep right and cross over Denny Way onto Wall Street. Proceed approximately five blocks and turn left onto Second Avenue. Continue south on Second Avenue approximately eight blocks. The Benaroya Hall parking garage will be on your left. The garage entrance is on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street.

By Bus
Benaroya Hall is served by numerous bus routes. Digital reader boards along Third Avenue display real-time bus arrival information. For details and trip planning tools, call Metro Rider Information at 206.553.3000 (voice) or 206.684.1739 (TDD), or visit Metro online. The Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel, served by bus and light rail, has a stop just below the Hall (University Street Station).

The 430-car underground garage at Benaroya Hall provides direct access from the enclosed parking area into the Hall via elevators leading to The Boeing Company Gallery. Enter the garage on Second Avenue, just south of Union Street. Maximum vehicle height is 6’8″. Blink charging stations are available for electric vehicles. The event rate is $16.

Parking is also available at:

  • The Cobb Building (enter on University Street between Third and Fourth Avenues).
  • The Russell Investments Center (enter on Union Street between First and Second Avenues).
  • There are many other garages within a one-block radius of Benaroya Hall, along with numerous on-street parking options.


All of our venues have accessible seating and listening devices available. Click here for more information about accessibility and ADA services at Benaroya Hall.

Please contact us at boxoffice@lectures.org or 206.621.2230 x10 for more details and to let us know you’re coming so we can better accommodate your needs.