Poet and teacher: Praise for Yale’s newest Nobel laureate, Louise Glück

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Members of the Yale community joined the chorus of voices around the world congratulating poet and educator Louise Glück, recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature. (See related story.)

Glück has been adjunct professor of English and Rosenkranz Writer-in-Residence at Yale since 2004. 

Colleagues praised her for her exquisite and haunting poetry, which has “inspired and shaped the literary landscape,” and for her work as a dedicated teacher and mentor who has “given herself unstintingly to students, who revere her.”

Their comments follow:

Peter Salovey

Yale president

Yale celebrates a poet of the interior life, whose unsparing explorations of the self and its place in the world in volume after volume have created poems of beauty and revelation. We also honor a galvanizing teacher who has given herself unstintingly to students, who revere her.”

Scott Strobel


Excellence in the arts and humanities is a Yale hallmark, and having among us one of the world’s greatest living poets is an honor and an inspiration. Yale places a premium on intellectual exchange, and Louise Glück has been an insightful, enriching, and encouraging presence for our students, scholars and artists alike. We congratulate her on her receipt of the Nobel Prize in Literature, and we look forward to all that we have to learn from her still.”

Tamar Gendler

Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences

A teacher of uncommon dedication, a poet of uncommon emotional range, Louise Glück’s presence has transformed our campus. Her passionate commitment to her undergraduate students inspires us to engage more deeply in our pedagogy; her profoundly humane poetry inspires us to engage more deeply in our lives. She illuminates the particular through the universal, the universal through the particular; her work brings light that helps us make our thought visible.”

Kathryn Lofton

Humanities dean, Yale Faculty of Arts and Sciences

It is always joyful for someone of such great ability to be so honored. But to have these exquisite unflinching poems flood our airwaves, in-boxes, and timelines in this moment of historic human struggle seems like a miraculous reminder: Truth is real, and its expression is how we survive.”

Jessica Brantley

Professor and chair of the Yale English Department

We are delighted — though not surprised — to learn of the Nobel Committee’s decision to honor our colleague, Louise Glück. Louise is an extraordinary poet, one whose powerful, precise, evocative voice has for decades inspired and shaped the literary landscape. Her work is guided by a subtle, incisive intellect that travels through loss and joy, sounding the whims and demands of the body, exploring the intensity of being alive and all that that astounding circumstance asks of us. She is also the most devoted of teachers, and the influence she has had on contemporary poetry both as mentor and as model is beyond measure. We celebrate this thrilling news!”

Langdon Hammer

Niel Gray Jr. Professor of English

Louise — and it’s worth noting that she is ‘Louise’ to all her students and colleagues — is a remarkable teacher. Teaching is part of her poetic vocation. Some poets are also critics; some poets are also playwrights, or novelists. Louise is a poet who is also a teacher. The two roles complement and feed each other. She is a teacher, moreover, not only in the classroom, but as a friend and a mentor to many, many poets. As the judge for the Yale Younger Poets Prize, for many years she helped the prizewinners — as well as poets who didn’t win the prize — to shape their manuscripts, and create distinctive voices. It’s a practical form of collaboration through which she has had a wide influence on contemporary poetry. And I think the teaching she does challenges and energizes her own poetry in return.”

Cynthia Zarin

Senior lecturer in English and Writing Concentration coordinator, and award-winning poet

Louise Gluck’s beautiful, haunting poems over the course of her career have mapped constellations of love, loss, and the almost unbearable condition of what it means to be a person alive to and in the world. Her eloquent, supremely animated work speaks at once to individual experience and to our shared predicament. Here at Yale, she is a devoted teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend. A wonderful day in dark times.”

Richard Deming

Senior lecturer in English, director of creative writing, and award-winning poet 

Louise is a tremendous talent, of course, but we also know her to be a central presence in our community. And we mark this astounding achievement of Louise’s in light of the ways that not only her tremendous poetic gifts, but also her conversation, her wit, and her sense of community has touched us, and will continue to touch us, inspire us, and challenge us to take the writing life as seriously as we must, especially in these trying times, a message that resonates outward by way of all the writers and students she has helped, guided, and mentored over the years. There is no one more deserving of this most dizzying of awards.”

Lucy Silbaugh ’21

I’ll never stop feeling lucky that I got to have Louise as a mentor and teacher. Her literary genius is obviously undeniable — but I think her talent for teaching is equally undeniable to anyone who has ever been in one of her workshops. Her remarks are always discerning and exact; sometimes her comments almost feel like poems themselves because they are so striking and offhandedly brilliant. Louise takes teaching very seriously and never, ever praises idly; if a poem is terrible, she will tell you it is terrible. But she also takes genuine delight in a good line; she seems to really want to be thrilled and surprised by her students’ work. That, I think, is extremely remarkable, especially for someone of her renown.”

Eliana Rose Swerdlow ’21

Just yesterday, I sat in the library courtyard and talked on the phone with Louise about a few poems I had mailed her. She gave them the scrutiny I have come to expect from Louise. I walked home with many feelings. Most of all, I felt happiness for having been seen with such seriousness and care. Louise’s commitment to me inspires me to show the same dedication to my poetry. It’s a great honor to be taught by Louise, and I’m smiling for her today.”

Jared Newman ’19

Former student

There is no other teacher like Louise. There is no teacher of writing more discerning, more encouraging, and more devoted than she. Even these words cannot capture the lengths to which Louise goes to care for each of her students, taking seriously even their most unsuccessful poems and instructing them equally in craft and in life. That Louise practices such generosity in her teaching is, of course, no different from the generosity of her poems, which share wisdom with all. In fact, Louise may be the most generous person I have ever met.”

Author: Admin