Yale News

Louise Glück, among the most influential and acclaimed poets of her generation, died on Friday, Oct. 13. She was 80 years old.

Glück joined Yale’s English faculty in 2004 and was teaching the Iseman Seminar in Poetry at Yale College this semester.

“Although our time working together was short, it was transformative,” Olivia Bell ’25, an English major currently enrolled in Glück’s poetry seminar, told the News. “Louise was a talented and impactful professor and warm, generous person, even inviting our class to her Vermont home. I am deeply grateful to have known her and heartbroken to hear this news.”

Glück, born April 22, 1943, attended George W. Hewlett High School in Hewlett, New York. 

She did not enroll in college as a full-time student and instead enrolled in poetry workshops at Columbia University. She has pointed to Leonie Adams and Stanley Kunitz, two of her professors there, as significant mentors in her development as a poet.

Margaret Spillane, a Yale English professor, credited Glück as an influence on her own work.

All I can think of is how, as a very young writer, I was enraptured by her presence in literary magazines like ANTAEUS,” Spillane wrote to the News. “Years later, it seemed to me miraculous to find myself a part of the English Department’s Writing Concentration with this woman whom I’d admired for most of my life.”

Glück authored two collections of essays and more than a dozen books of poetry during her lifetime. Her many awards include the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, the National Humanities Medal, a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

When Glück received the Nobel Prize in 2020 — making her the first American-born woman to win the award since Toni Morrison in 1993 — the prize committee praised Glück’s “unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal,” the New York Times reported.

Richard Deming, the Director of Creative Writing in Yale’s English Department, wrote that Glück “showed us as a poet and a human being all the aching beauty of which language is capable of revealing.”

“I want to say that there are no words in the face of such a devastating loss,” Deming told the News. “But in fact we do have words, we have her words, the words she gave us in poem after poem, for decades. These poems shaped a sense of how to be in the world, how to be in love with the world and even, when the time came, how to face leaving it.”

A full obituary will appear soon.

Correction, Oct. 13: The article has been updated to reflect that Glück was the first female American-born poet to win the Nobel Prize in literature since Morrison — not the first American since T.S. Eliot.

Ben Raab covers faculty and academics at Yale and writes about the Yale men's basketball team. Originally from New York City, Ben is a sophomore in Pierson college pursuing a double major in history and political science.
Anika Arora Seth is the 146th Editor in Chief and President of the Yale Daily News. Anika previously covered STEM at Yale as well as admissions, alumni and financial aid. She also laid out the weekly print edition of the News as a Production & Design editor and was one of the inaugural Diversity, Equity & Inclusion co-chairs. Anika is pursuing a double major in biomedical engineering and women's, gender and sexuality studies.
Evan Gorelick is Managing Editor of the Yale Daily News. He previously covered Woodbridge Hall, with a focus on the University's finances, budget and endowment. He also laid out the weekly print edition of the News as a Production and Design Editor. Originally from Woodbridge, Connecticut, he is a junior in Timothy Dwight College double-majoring in English and economics.