Louise Glck’s “Conversation with James Longenbach” in the Welles-Brown room on Wednesday proved to be an enriching conversation for those attending.

Glck answered questions directed by Longenbach and by the audience. A hush fell over the room as Glck and her interviewer presented themselves at the table.

Her list of accolades is impressive, including becoming the 12th Poet Laureate of the United States last year.

Longenbach opened the session by asking Glck if anything has changed since she began writing as a young girl.

Glck stated that the constant of human mortality has preoccupied her writing. She is most interested in “what becomes of us.”

Longenbach prompted her further by asking if the discipline of the task has changed.

“The notion of art has changed,” Glck said.

She feels she has evolved as a writer of substance due to her life experiences.

“Taste change has no impact on that sensation,” Glck said. Yet she acknowledges that taste changes occur.

“I’m not married to my present opinions,” she said.

Longenbach further asked Glck to expound on different genres of poetry, such as experimental and traditional poetry among others.

“America is married to opposition,” Glck said. She used stolid versus avant-garde and brazen versus conservative as examples. Glck stated that she has been viewed as “not ambitious” when she wrote short poems. She says that she writes some long poems, but feels that impulsive writing inherently creates inflexablitly.

Glck was asked at what point she establishes enough distance from a tragedy to be stark yet emotionally seething. “[It is not the] want of courage but want of vehicle,” she said.

She elaborated, possibly to the chagrin of very youthful writers, by reiterating the value of life experience either before or after the tragedy.

Glck answered other questions in detail about her greatest critics being her friends, detective fiction being her favorite genre for inspiration, trying to make more use of “comedic” over “serious” insertion when appropriate or fitting, and “writer’s block,” a term that she dislikes.

“One must take pressure off the self, if any authentic making is to happen,” Glck said. “[By] following your passion, you’ll get a new vocabulary.”

Glck’s personal writing extremes range from writing multiple poems a day to a spell of two and a half to three years when all she wrote were letters.

I came away with fulfilling satisfaction after Glck signed my copy of “October,” when I asked her a question that has intrigued many of her readers. “Was this poem inspired by September 11?” Glck’s mouth dropped in pleasant surprise. “Absolutely! How could you tell?”

Cerone-Howe can be reached at tceronehowe@campustimes.org.



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