I became a criminal when I fell in love.
Before that I was a waitress.
I didn’t want to go to Chicago with you.
I wanted to marry you, I wanted
Your wife to suffer.
I wanted her life to be like a play
In which all the parts are sad parts.
Does a good person
Think this way? I deserve
Credit for my courage–
I sat in the dark on your front porch.
Everything was clear to me:
If your wife wouldn’t let you go
That proved she didn’t love you.
If she loved you
Wouldn’t she want you to be happy?
I think now
If I felt less I would be
A better person. I was
A good waitress.
I could carry eight drinks.
I used to tell you my dreams.
Last night I saw a woman sitting in a dark bus–
In the dream, she’s weeping, the bus she’s on
Is moving away. With one hand
She’s waving; the other strokes
An egg carton full of babies.
The dream doesn’t rescue the maiden.
Divenni una criminale quando m’innamorai.
Prima facevo la cameriera.
Non volevo venire a Chicago con te.
Volevo sposarti, volevo
che tua moglie soffrisse.
Volevo che la sua vita fosse una commedia
in cui tutte le parti sono tristi.
Una brava persona
pensa queste cose? Mi si riconosca
Sedevo al buio sotto il portico di casa tua.
Tutto mi era chiaro:
se tua moglie non voleva lasciarti andare
era la prova che non ti amava.
Se ti avesse amato
non avrebbe voluto che tu fossi felice?
che se fossi meno sensibile sarei
una persona migliore. Ero
una brava cameriera,
riuscivo a portare otto bicchieri assieme.
Un tempo ti raccontavo i miei sogni.
Ieri notte ho visto una donna seduta in un autobus buio –
nel sogno lei piange, l’autobus
si allontana. Con una mano
saluta; l’altra accarezza
un cartone da uova pieno di neonati.
Il sogno non salva la fanciulla.
Glück was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island. Her father helped invent and market the X-Acto Knife. Glück graduated in 1961 from George W. Hewlett High School, in Hewlett, New York. She went on to attend Sarah Lawrence College and later transferred to Columbia University.
Glück won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1993 for her collection The Wild Iris. Glück is the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award (Triumph of Achilles), the Academy of American Poet’s Prize (Firstborn), as well as numerous Guggenheim fellowships. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and was previously a Senior Lecturer in English at Williams College in Williamstown, MA. Glück currently teaches at Yale University, where she is the Rosencranz Writer in Residence, and in the Creative Writing Program of Boston University. She has also been a member of the faculty of the University of Iowa and taught at Goddard College in Vermont.
Glück is the author of eleven books of poetry, including Averno (2006); The Seven Ages (2001); Vita Nova (1999), which was awarded The New Yorker’s Book Award in Poetry; Meadowlands (1996); The Wild Iris (1992), which received the Pulitzer Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award; Ararat (1990), which received the Library of Congress’s Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry; and The Triumph of Achilles (1985), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Boston Globe Literary Press Award, and the Poetry Society of America’s Melville Kane Award. The First Four Books collects her early poetry.
Louise Glück has also published a collection of essays, Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry (1994), which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction. Sarabande Books published in chapbook form a new, six-part poem, October, in 2004. In 2001 Yale University awarded Louise Glück its Bollingen Prize in Poetry, given biennially for a poet’s lifetime achievement in his or her art. Her other honors include the Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, the Sara Teasdale Memorial Prize (Wellesley, 1986), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Anniversary Medal (2000), and fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations and from the National Endowment for the Arts.
She is a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and in 1999 was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. In 2003 she was named as judge for the Yale Series of Younger Poets and served in that position through 2010. Glück was appointed the US Poet Laureate from 2003-2004, succeeding Billy Collins.
The House on Marshland (1975)
The Garden (1976)
Descending Figure (1980)
The Triumph of Achilles (1985)
The Wild Iris (1992)
Mock Orange (1993)
The First Four Books of Poems (1995)
Vita Nova (1999)
The Seven Ages (2001)
A Village Life (2009) (shortlisted for the 2010 International Griffin Poetry Prize)
Proofs and Theories: Essays on Poetry (1994)