Apr 24, 2019
Like most famous people, Louise Glück is shorter than I expected. At Glück’s reading on April 10th in the Barker center, the room was so packed I had to sit on the floor. From this vantage, I had a better view of the audience than of the stage, such that when Glück arrived, what I saw first was not the poet herself, but the awed looks that followed her into the room, signaling that this, this mild and unassuming figure, was the Poet Laureate, the Louise Glück.
Glück’s reading was a study in contrasts. The poems were packed with the first-person, existential intensity that characterizes her work. Yet in performance, she read her work in a slow, husky monotone that felt oddly quiet and small. Glück herself presented no fewer contradictions. Though plainly-dressed, soft-spoken, and diminutive, Glück moved through the room with unseen force, parting the crowd with ease.